Show Them Who You Are

Lent, Day 2

Matthew 4:1-11

“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came” (Mt. 4:2-3).

The tempter comes. I like to think that by this point in their battle, the enemy feels somewhat desperate at his lack of success. He knows Jesus is winning. So, three times he offers Jesus the easy way out. 

“Turn these stones into bread.” You’re hungry. You have the power to get what you want, right now! You can even feed others! You can ease their pain too.

“Throw Yourself down and let angels catch You.” Prove Yourself to them. You are the Son of God. Show them Your power! You command angels! If You show them, they will believe.

“You can have all the kingdoms, easy. Just worship me now, and I’ll give them to You.” You don’t have to do this, Jesus. You don’t have to suffer for them. Just force them to be Yours. 

Can’t Jesus just say a word and banish Satan from His presence? Can’t He call angels to come surround Him with protection? No, He can’t. Not and still be sinless. Not and still be the sacrifice He came to be.

Satan says, “Take those powers and serve Yourself, Jesus. Get what You deserve. Make them see. They will worship You if You do this. Show them who You are.”

Show them who you are.

Jesus could do all those things, easily. That’s what the enemy holds out to Him. The easy way. 

This time in the wilderness is preparation for all that follows. Jesus is about to enter full-on into the suffering of humanity. From now on, He will spend His days touching and listening to and speaking to desperate people. He will see the depths of their need. He will “carry their sorrows.” He will face the anger of those whose pride and fear refuse to recognize Him, and He will be tortured and killed. All along the way the enemy will be there, waiting.

What will happen if he takes this moment to seize the spotlight? If he indeed proves what He can really do, if He wants to?  

He was tempted, just as we are tempted to meet our own needs at all costs. To be relevant. To prove ourselves and show we are capable. To receive the adoration of others. 

To show them who we are.

Jesus never performs a single act to serve Himself or save Himself from suffering. This One with all the power lays His power down and looks to His Father. From this moment, everything Jesus does is a sacrifice of self, a relinquishing of His life. This time in the desert prepares Jesus for another meeting with His enemy, this time in a garden. Then Jesus will be facing His imminent death through torture. He will beg His Father to take the cup from Him. But in the end, He will cry, “Not My will. Only Yours.”

He always looks to His Father. He always lays His life down.

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18)

Through His death He destroys the power of death. He delivers us from fear of death, and therefore, from slavery. 

The power of death is broken. The fear it holds over you—it’s done. Are you a slave to fear, serving yourself at all costs? 

The surest method of losing your way is setting out to prove yourself. Look to your Jesus who laid His life down for you, who let go of all His power, all His right to be right. He surrendered it all so we could, too. So we could know the Father like He does. 

That way of self, it may look like the easy way. Don’t believe it. There’s only one way to knowing who you really are. 

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