“[Jesus] has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15b
Listen: Hebrews 4
Israel had trouble getting it right. The wilderness becomes a dangerous place for them both physically and spiritually. The desert is a “trust school” for them. Hardship can develop character. But it also reveals character.
Where Israel fails in their wilderness experience, Jesus succeeds in his. John Dickson writes, “Matthew 4 provides a powerful picture of [Jesus] reenacting Israel’s past and by succeeding where Israel failed, rewriting the future” (A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus, page 96).
The contrasts are powerful. The Jews complain about their bread. But when tempted, Jesus quotes, “Man does not live by bread alone…” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3). Israel tests God. But when tempted, Jesus asserts, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test…” (Deuteronomy 6:16). When they’re fed up, the Jews make an idol. But when tempted to worship Satan, Jesus claims, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only” (Matthew 4:10b).
Jesus was the Israel that Israel could never be. And Jesus succeeds where we fail, even though he was tempted in all the same ways. He became our substitute and died for us—doing what we wouldn’t and couldn’t do for ourselves. Jesus rewrites the story for Israel, and he rewrites our story.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Offer a prayer saying, “Jesus, thank you for understanding my weakness and being my substitute. I acknowledge I need your help to succeed at______________________. I can’t do it on my own. Please rewrite my story and help me through the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.