We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
The Bible tells us that angels were eyewitnesses to Christ’s temptation in the wilderness. The baby in the manger grew up to be the spotless Lamb of God, through whom we have forgiveness of our sins. But to demonstrate His sinlessness, Jesus had to be tested.
In the wilderness, Satan used the same line on Jesus that he uses on you and me every day. It is the basis of all temptation: “If you disobey God, you can avoid pain and experience gain.” To Jesus, Satan said, “Are You hungry? Turn these stones into bread. Avoid the pain, experience gain.” To us, he says, “You want to do that act of immorality? Avoid the pain, experience gain.”
To Jesus, Satan said, “Do you want to be recognized? Throw yourself from the temple; the angels will catch you, and people will worship you. Avoid the pain, experience gain.” To us, he says, “Do you want to be accepted? A little compromise doesn’t matter.”
He said to Jesus, “Do you want to have your reward now? Worship me, and all the kingdoms on earth will belong to you.” He says to us, “Worship me, and you can have everything you ever dreamed of.”
Jesus confronted each temptation with the truth of God’s Word. So intense was His struggle that the angels ministered to Jesus after He resisted temptation (Matthew 4:11).
The angels were also present three years later for the greatest test Jesus endured. Before He was betrayed, Jesus went to Gethsemane. Mark 14:35 says, “Jesus … fell to the ground and began to pray.” Why did Christ want to be spared from the cross? Certainly, the physical pain was horrific. But I also think Jesus knew He would be separated from His Heavenly Father when He took the sins of the whole world upon Himself. He said, “God, spare Me from this experience.” Then He added, “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
The greatest struggle you will experience will not be with Satan. The greatest struggle you will ever have is this: my will or God’s will? Some of you are praying, “God, give me a job. Heal this broken relationship. Bring healing to me, to my loved ones.” Yet the most important phrase to utter is, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”
The Bible says Jesus’ struggle was so great that He began to sweat drops like blood down His face. And an angel appeared in order to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43-44). The angels saw an agony in Gethsemane that was only a prelude to the real reason Christ came.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Angels Who Have Seen On High ” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.