“When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” Luke 4.13
Have you ever just wanted to say to the world, “Give me a break!” I have felt that in recent weeks, months and pretty much this whole year when the world seems to be turning on it’s head. What we’ve enjoyed for the past century in terms of “Christian culture” is coming quickly to an end.
It’s not simply political, it’s spiritual. It’s what happened to much of Europe, especially England, as they move into a post-Christian culture. Conservative biblical beliefs, once accepted as the norm, are now demonized. Gender distinctions and social justice issues are no longer seen through a Judeo-Christian lens. The world is quickly becoming the antithesis of itself. It’s starting to look a lot like the town of Ephesus in the New Testament. (I.e. Not good!)
Which brings me back to Luke 4.13. This is the final verse after the three temptations. Three temptations, each of which Jesus overcame with Scripture, and now “when the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” So let me get this straight, the devil left, but not for good? What’s the point if he’s going to return?!
This implies that Jesus continued to face temptation throughout his life and ministry. The devil left until “an opportune time.” In other words, when it was advantageous to the devil, he came back to try to tempt Jesus with sin. But thankfully for us, Jesus never gave in. There was no sin in him.
This gives hope to us as a church in the 21st century. Hope to us as Christianity is under attack. Our worldview is being threatened. Everywhere we turn, on social media and TV, public opinion is quickly moving away from Biblical standards (if it had any in the first place) to an atheistic, humanistic, pagan reality. (For more on this watch Dr. Jim Denison’s 11 minute video).
But God is still on the throne and nothing we face can derail him. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven and he has already won the victory. Perhaps we are putting much emphasis on this life, this earth, our temporary battles. Maybe we should focus more on what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians— “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,” (2 Corinthians 4.16-18).
Even though the Scripture in Luke 4 implies the devil returned to tempt Jesus, and he will also tempt us, Jesus (who is our victory) never gave in. Therefore, we are winners. We do not need to be discouraged by current events anymore so than Paul was discouraged by the Corinthian church. For we “fix our eyes on not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.”
When the world seems to be fading away, place your hope in Jesus. The author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12.2).
“O Lord God, I will not be discouraged. I will trust in you. When the world seems to be sliding into darkness, I will trust you to save us. I know that you are a good and loving God and your Holy Spirit is alive and well. Come now, Lord Jesus, return to your people. Bring revival upon your land. Help us find strength and grace so that we might be all you have called and created us to be. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen