Jesus Poster Bulletin“I am going to serve you a treat the devil never serves you: I’m going to leave you.” That’s what an old friend used to tell me whenever he had to say good bye.

That saying reminds me of the statement Luke made about Jesus’ temptation. He said that at the end the devil left him “until an opportune time.” In other words, the devil never served Jesus the treat of leaving either. We know that he used Peter to tempt Jesus not to go to the cross, to give just one example.

We also know that at the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus also agonized with the Father over the idea of perhaps finding an alternative way for Him to fulfill His mission – anything other than the brutal and humiliating death that would completely separate Him from the Father.

As I studied the accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion again, it occurred to me that an element that is often missing from the commentaries is the multiple times Jesus was tempted to do something that would be “off script.” It would be so easy for Him to come down from the cross, for example, but He chose to stay there.

The frequency of these challenges to Jesus’ integrity leads me to believe that His crucifixion and the events that led to it were filled with attempts on the part of the enemy to take Jesus off mission. But thank God, Jesus stayed focused and went through with God’s plan.

When Peter cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, Jesus aptly reminded him that if He wanted He could call thousands of angels to come to His defense. But He didn’t.

One of the rebels crucified with Jesus challenged Him to “save Himself and us!” But He didn’t.

Passersby mocked the idea that He said He was going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. They said, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” But He didn’t.

The religious leaders taunted Him with the ultimate temptation: “If you come down from the cross, we will believe you.” But He didn’t.

All of this was part of Satan’s last minute all-out attack to get Jesus off track. Had Jesus yielded to the temptation to show the power He knew He had, everything would be lost and Satan would have defeated God’s plan to reconcile mankind to Himself. We would still be living in darkness and there would be no possibility of forgiveness.

If Jesus would have come down from the cross the offering for our sins would never have risen up to God. We would be forever imprisoned in a chamber of darkness where the possibility of forgiveness would only be a failed experiment.

No, the devil never left Jesus but after the resurrection, when Christ got on the other side of the cross, it was Jesus who gave us a treat – that of permanent victory over death and the certainty that our sins are forgiven through His sacrifice. Now we owe nothing and the devil is commanded to leave us whether He wants to do it or not.

And that is the message of Easter. Come and remember it with us this Sunday.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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