Friday, April 22, 2011

Fear Not, Part 2

1 Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 

That verse was written to the Corinthians.  About their own foibles. But it really brought to my mind why "fear not" is the real battle cry of a true Christian.  Because our best example IS our example.  It's common Christian teaching that, in order for the Messiah to fulfill His function of substituting for mankind, He must faultlessly go through all the things that we do, though we are far from faultless.  In fact because we are not faultless.  And, as our substitute, He must go through all that as a man.  And that got me meditating not just on the things that Jesus endured, but the possible ramifications of those circumstances.

First, there's Jesus' time of temptation by the devil in Matthew 4:1-10 -- 40 days of fasting, followed by tests of survival based on going against the plan of God, pride in self exaltation, and greed based on again going against God.  And we know from Scripture that Jesus passed these tests with flying colors.  But the real success was not that He got through them, nor that He used the Word as His weapon to win those battles (although that's important), but that those things are true while He was dealing with them as a man!  In order for those tests to mean anything, Jesus had to limit Himself to only using the qualities found in us to deal with them!

Have you ever considered Jesus life while He was growing up?  The times that weren't recorded in the Bible.  We know about Jesus teaching in the temple as a young lad.  When everyone was amazed at His wisdom.  But I suspect there were more times away from the temple when He shared His wisdom.  And I can picture some well meaning individuals suggesting to Jesus that He was a dreamer and would be better off just working at becoming a good carpenter and making His "father" Joseph proud.

And, throughout His public ministry, there was the experience of the taunting and ridicule that He and His followers went through.  And, since it was preordained that God would not interfere with Man's free will, they had to endure.  What's more, Jesus had to endure the sad knowledge that those taunts were signs that the taunters were choosing a path strait to Hell.  How much sadness and anguish that must have brought Him!

Then there were Jesus' last days.  He endured all of Satan's kingdom coming against Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, trying to keep Him from fulfilling prophecy. There was the anguish of the false accusations and mock trials.  There was the extensive scourging. There was the trek to Golgotha, carrying the Cross.  And, finally, there was the Crucifixion, with Christ's total separation from the Father for that period when He substituted for everything that had separated us from the Father.  And He still asked the Father to forgive.  And all endured as a man!  Because only God had the capability to redeem mankind, but only another man could fulfill the redemption.

After all that...came Resurrection.  In full Godly capability, the full return to life.  Not just spiritually, but physically, as well.  Because, without the Resurrection, nothing else really matters.  He is Risen!

Have a blessed Easter.  More tomorrow.  And please...remember to pray for Libby!

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