ODJ: Last Words

December 17, 2017 

READ: Mark 1:9-13 

You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy (v.11).

When we arrive at school each morning, my kids unclick their seatbelts, heave their backpacks onto one shoulder and climb out of the car. But before my son shuts the door, I call after them: “I love you!” I want my children to face the challenges of each day knowing that I support and care for them.

God expressed His care for Jesus at the beginning of His earthly ministry, during His baptism. Emerging from the emerald water of the Jordan River, Jesus saw the clouds rupture above Him and heard a voice from heaven say, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy” (Mark 1:11).

Immediately after this, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert where He endured forty days of isolation, harsh sunlight, scorching heat, hunger and wild animals. In that setting, Jesus repeatedly resisted Satan’s sinful offers until the devil gave up and disappeared (Luke 4:1-13).

Suppose the Father’s last words echoed in Jesus’ mind during His temptation: dearly loved. What did God’s love mean to Jesus during this and other difficult moments He faced? It meant that He had the full support of His Father. Jesus didn’t have to fear failure (1 John 4:18). The Father was aware of what was going on and provided the power Jesus needed to overcome each enticement.

Maybe you feel as if you’re alone in a struggle with sin. The battle is fierce and you need to know that God is on your side. He is. God loves all His children as much as He loves His own Son! (John 17:23). If you ask Him for help, He will respond. If you take the escape route He offers to overcome temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), you’ll become an example of what His love and power can accomplish in the most difficult of circumstances.

—Jennifer Schuldt

365-day plan: Hebrews 11:1-40

Read 2 Tim. 2:21-22 and consider the rewards that come from resisting temptation. 
How does giving in to temptation affect our relationship with God and others? What’s the connection between Satan’s deceptive nature and temptation?