Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NT75 Day 10: Hebrews 1-3

Twice in this book we are told that Jesus experienced suffering and temptation as we do and, therefore, He's not immune or distant from the pain or hurt or frustration or disappointment or wish-it-were-otherwise feelings we experience.

In today's reading as well as tomorrow's, we see that Christ is a "merciful and faithful high priest" (2.17, cf. 4.14-15) who is able and willing to "help those who are being tempted."  So whatever you're in, you're not alone.

An interesting note on trial and temptation.  One person actually stopped by my office this week to ask me about this.  The NT was originally written in the Greek language, so sometimes words can come across as different that might be more similar than they are in the English.  For instance, temptation and trial are the same word in the Greek.  Temptation and trial are both good translations for the word, depending on context, so don't get mad at your Bible.

But consider:  each temptation is a trial to test your character, whether you will love God more than the apple on the tree, the carrot on the stick, the lover who's beckoning, the image on the screen, the growth of your bank account, etc.  Is God really the "surpassing value" (see Phil. 3.7ff) of your life?  That's the question that our response to temptation answers.

But also, each trial is a temptation.  Sometimes the doctor calls with the news you didn't want (as he did to us yesterday) and the temptation is to go all Job's wife and just curse God and die.  Sometimes the "why" questions don't get answered and the temptation is to think God unwise and uncaring and become apathetic toward Him.  Sometimes the relationship isn't working out like you wished and the temptation is to surrender your morals, your goodness, your common sense, or your decency to manipulate or manage the other person into staying.

Jesus isn't unfamiliar with any of this.  Even He was tempted to give it up right before the victory:  "Father, if there's any way that this cup can pass from me..."

You're never alone, even in temptation and trial.

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