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A Word for this Week - Pastor Bill Mugnolo

Week of February 19-25, 2018: “Two Times of Temptation” … Mark 1:12-13

The temptation in the Garden of Eden and Jesus’ temptation in wilderness are two times of temptation that couldn’t be in sharper contrast to one another. One takes place in a luscious garden—the only true paradise on earth—while the other takes place in a barren wasteland. The first people were surrounded by scrumptious food—an almost all you can eat buffet. Jesus, on the other hand, went without food for forty days and forty nights.

Then, in the Garden, Adam and Eve were in the presence of totally friendly animals. Jesus, however, was surrounded by wild animals such as snakes, scorpions, and jackals. As husband and wife, the first people were there to support each other amidst temptation whereas Jesus was alone.

But the two times of temptation produced two very different results: Adam and Eve failed their test and plunged the world into sin and death. Jesus was victorious as He passed a major test en route to His going on to his ministry and then the cross where He would bear all the sins of the world.

Both times of temptation—while in different settings and producing different results—had similarities that we can learn from when we face times of temptation too. Both were tests set up to prove their true love for the Father in heaven. We too will face such tests (James 1:2-4). Both involved Satan sowing seeds of doubt as well as outright lies. Then, in both temptations, the word of God was available to use as a weapon against the assaults of the devil.

The environment in which we face temptation is more like the Garden of Eden with its plenty than a wilderness setting of scarcity and starvation. Yet like the first people we all too often fail the test, give in to the lie, and suffer the consequences. But in Jesus Christ—who passed the test in the wilderness and who would go on to pass the ultimate test of the cross—we have the one who understands our weaknesses and who was tempted just as we are and yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

As we face times of temptations too, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

PASTOR JIM UPDATE

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