In my Florida neighborhood, there are dozens of ponds and given our tropical location in the southeastern part of the United States, it’s highly likely that within those ponds there are dozens of alligators. I’ve seen alligators swimming in the ponds before of various sizes, from the very young three-footers to the fully developed.
Florida Fish and Wildlife frequently visits our neighborhood to remove them from the ponds, but one can never be sure that the ponds are all clear, so we must take precautions. My husband, kids, and I don’t go too near to the ponds and we certainly don’t swim in them. To be all of my neighbors take precautions, our neighborhood management association has recently placed signs all around the neighborhood that say, “Do not feed or disturb the alligators. No swimming.”
It makes good sense to minimize the potential for danger. We instinctively avoid walking into fires, swimming with sharks or alligators, and jumping from airplanes without parachutes. We avoid trouble, though that does not mean we do not get into trouble. At times, we fail to stay safe. We get hurt or burned and the pain we feel often goes beyond the physical and into the spiritual.
When we sin, we bring pain on ourselves. Our sins may become such a burden that it seems impossible to escape them. Addiction. Bitterness. Hostility. Anger. Hatred. Gluttony. Jealousy. All of these can burden us and prevent us from being the persons God wants us to be. They weigh us down so much at times that it seems impossible to escape.
But God has given us a lifeline. Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29). In all of Jesus’ perfect mercy, grace, and love, we are forgiven for our sins once we have repented and called on Him to help.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail.” (Luke 22:31).
Given our innate sense to avoid danger and not commit sins, I have always wondered why our perfect Lord granted Satan the right to tempt Him. Why should the great accuser and the father of lies be granted the opportunity to tempt the Son of Man right after Jesus had been baptized by John and glorified by God?
“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. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:1-11).
The answer to the question of why Satan was given the opportunity to tempt Jesus is the answer to why Jesus came to the earth around two thousand years ago. He came to the earth as the sacrificial and blemish-free Passover Lamb to give His life in exchange for our sins. A man of sin could not give his life to free us from our sins. Only one devoid of sins would could do that. Satan was given the opportunity to tempt Jesus to demonstrate Jesus’ strength in overcoming the maximum temptation of sin. Jesus is without sin. This step was necessary so that on Calvary, Jesus could demonstrate His unique ability to reconcile God’s perfect love, mercy, and justice.
“I have told you these things, so that in me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
Thank you for your time.
Oh, and don’t feed the alligators. Put up fences and warning signs either physically or in your mind to keep yourself free from danger. And look above.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).