Jesus Had to Go Through Temptations First
This was the short devotional talk I gave for the first general assembly of the Friday Night Light (FNL) group, the young singles ministry of Christ’s Commission Fellowship Makati (CCFM), of which I am proudly part of its core team. This happened last Wednesday. We will launch our weekly gathering next week, February 3, Friday. So please include us in your prayers.
I gave my commitment to the FNL team middle of December last year. It truly is an honor to be a part of the Lord’s work in Makati. But after I gave my commitment, temptations came too soon. I struggled with lustful thoughts, a struggle that is unusual to me. And I despaired each time I fell into the traps set by the devil.
I asked myself, Why do temptations keep on coming to me? And why were they too strong for me to overcome?
Then I realized something, saying: “Oh yeah, I just gave my devotion to the Lord’s vision and work among the young singles of the Makati church.”
By God’s providence, I remembered the story when Jesus was tempted by Satan. Let’s read Matthew 4:1-11.
What is really astonishing to me are the events that happened after the temptation of Jesus:
• Jesus began His ministry, preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
• He called Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, as well as James and John the sons of Zebedee, and made them fishers of men (4:18-22).
• He ministered in Galilee, “teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (4:23).
• He ministered to great crowds who “followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan” (4:25).
• He gave the longest recorded sermon, Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7).
• He cleansed a leper (8:1-4).
• He cast out spirits and healed all who were sick, including Peter’s mother-in-law (8:14-17).
• He healed two demon-possessed men in the country of Gadarenes (8:28-34).
• He healed a paralytic (9:1-8).
• He called Matthew the tax collector (9:9).
• He healed a woman “who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years” and restored the life of a ruler’s daughter (9:18-26).
• He opened the eyes of two blind men (9:27-31).
• He healed a demon-possessed and mute man (9:32-34).
• And so on and so forth.
So what can we observe from these? Before doing any ministry, Jesus had to go through temptations first. I want to believe that the devil meant the temptations to stop Him in his mission and make Him look like a fraud. But God meant it to prove to the world that He is the Son of God, and as the Son of God He will redeem sinners like you and me. And when He overcame the temptations, He did ministry after ministry. He was never a fraud!
In my case, the devil wants to make me look like a fraud. He wants to say, “Enzo, you think you want to serve God? Guess what? You just fell into sin. You’re nothing but a fraud! You’re not really fit for the Lord’s work among the young singles of Makati. So get out from there!”
He wants to cast doubts on my calling. He wants me to abandon my mission. And ultimately, he wants me to disobey the God who gave me this ministry. He wants me to look like a fraud!
I don’t know about you. Maybe you are also facing the same situation. Or if you aren’t, just wait; it will soon come. But here’s my encouragement: Just as Jesus was steadfast and proved to the world that He is the Son of God by overcoming the temptations, and eventually did ministry after ministry, we must remain steadfast in the midst of temptations, overcoming them to become fruitful in our ministries.
By the way, I overcame the temptations I once had. This is because of God’s grace!