Devotions

The Christ Is Inaugurated

The inauguration day of a high-ranking official is usually full of pomp and circumstance.  There’s a parade!  There’s a party!  There’s a celebration for all to see!  Cameras flash, hope is renewed, and smiles abound as the leader is unveiled.

Jesus, the Christ, was now a grown man.  He had come all the way from heaven to earth to be baptized.  He was now inaugurated into the public ministry.  Would there be a parade and party?  Would the Christ invite his mother Mary to the stage, that she might give a testimonial about the virgin birth?  Would Jesus share the pizzazz of the angels who filled the sky on Christmas night?  Not exactly.  God tells us all about Jesus’ first activity of his public ministry in this Bible verse: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry  (Matthew 4:1,2).”  

How’s that for an inauguration party?  Unseen by anyone else, Jesus went into the desert to be alone with Satan.  Would the Christ at least power up for his showdown in the sand?  No.  For reasons known only to him, the Spirit thought it was best for the Son of God to fast for over a month.  The Christ was grinding through, one hour at a time, as he and the devil both had their game faces on for battle.  They both really wanted to win, and there was nothing casual about it!  No party.  No cameras.  No adoring crowds cheering for the Christ on the sidelines.

What a beginning for Christ’s redeeming work!  Yet it all makes sense when you remember that Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve.  He didn’t come to smile for the cameras, but to struggle for the lost.  He took his job as Redeemer seriously, and he did what no one else could ever do: fight temptation perfectly.  It was all for us as he took his first steps from his baptism to his cross.

Never forget that while forgiveness through Christ was free, it wasn’t cheap!    

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you came to destroy the devil’s work.  You were anything but casual as you fought off Satan’s temptations, one at a time and every time.  Give me the same resilience, focus, love and determination to fight off the devil’s attacks on my own soul.  Help me to avoid the extremes of pretending that there is no battle, as well as the extreme of thinking that I must still be my own savior.  Instead, comfort me with your victory, and let me use your gospel armor of forgiveness in the war for my soul.  It’s in your holy name that I pray, Amen.

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