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July 24 | Hebrews 2:14-18


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REFLECTION


Temptation and Suffering: Jesus Paid the Price

by Elaine Pierce


"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (Hebrews 2:18)


When was the last time you truly suffered? Have you suffered in the oppressive Ohio heat and humidity this summer? Have you suffered because of the stock market, throwing your bank balance or your retirement fund into doubt? Have you suffered because of a poor relationship decision? Have you suffered for your faith?


Suffering because of the heat is indeed a form of suffering, but I don't think it's what the author of the book of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote these verses, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was tempted by Satan, and he did not give in so that he could destroy the devil's power over death. Jesus suffered a brutal death on the cross, not because of anything he did, but because of what we did. When we suffer, we can count on the sure knowledge that Jesus knows what it is like to be tempted. Ponder this verse in I Corinthians 10:13:


"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." [emphasis added]


What is that'way out' that God has provided? The way out is through the cross. We can't will ourselves to resist temptation. We can't read enough self-help books. We can't resist temptation on our own. The only way is through the cross. Thanks be to God that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. Yes, we will experience temptation. Yes, we will experience suffering. But thanks be to God that he delivers us. He is our ever present help in times of trouble.


You will be tempted this week. But take heart! Jesus has paid the price.

 

Lord, I come to you knowing that I have sinned. I so easily give in to the temptations of power, of greed, of putting my needs above others. You were tempted and you suffered on the cross for me, for my sins. I rejoice that you have wiped the slate clean. Thank you for this body of believers who come alongside me with encouragement, hope and prayer. Thank you for the risen Christ. Amen.


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