Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, September 30, 2023
When We Are Tempted
by David Harwood
The writer to, perhaps, communities of Messianic Jews (Hebrews) stressed that Yeshua was tempted in all things, just like us, yet without sin.
For we do not have a kohen gadol who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all the same ways—yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
I recalled a saying that stuck with me over the decades: “He who falls yields before the last strain.” Its origin is in Westcott’s commentary on Hebrews. Here’s its immediate context:
“Sympathy with the sinner in his trial does not depend on the experience of sin but on the experience of the strength of the temptation to sin which only the sinless can know in its full intensity. He who falls yields before the last strain.”
In the Besorah (Gospels) the Messiah’s primary temptations focused on His determination to fulfill His role as God’s Lamb. Yeshua understands how we feel when we’re tempted and, because we are often tempted, we can vaguely understand how He felt when He was.
God’s Son, our Friend, had to overcome the temptation to enter into His kingship apart from His suffering “many things from the elders and ruling kohanim and Torah scholars, and be killed.” (Matthew 16:21b)
Our Messiah overcame through His faith in His Father. I believe His attitude towards the temptation to betray His identity and mission may have been similar to this:
I reject this temptation. I know who I am, and I know what I am called to do.
I will not yield to doubt. I will believe what My Father showed me.
I will not break faith with Father. I trust Him in everything.
Yeshua knew His Father and, as He trusted, He experienced Father’s goodness.
Messiah fulfilled His mission through faith in the prophetic proclamation, the presence of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, and Father’s word to Him. Here is the record of the prophet’s proclamation:
The next day, John sees Yeshua coming to him and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
In Matthew 3 we can read of the presence of the Ruach and Father’s identifying word to Him.
After being immersed, Yeshua rose up out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Ruach Elohim descending like a dove and coming upon Him.
And behold, a voice from the heavens said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased!” (Matthew 3:16–17)
It is of this Father that Yeshua spoke throughout the Sermon on the Mount. The Messiah sought to bring these truths home to the hearts of His hearers:
He is your Father.
Have confidence in Him for He is good. He knows what you need and He will meet those needs. You can afford to be obedient and seek first the Kingdom.
He will not leave you helpless. He is a good Father
Yeshua seeks to lead us into a relationship with Father that resembles His relationship with Father. Therefore, let us pray to embrace and excel in the type of faith that has normative, radical, loyal trust in God’s goodness.
Let’s follow Yeshua and cultivate Restful Reverent Reliance upon our Father. It is the key to knowing God and fulfilling His calling on our lives.
My aim is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death— if somehow I might arrive at the resurrection from among the dead. (Philippians 3:10–11)
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 30 Sep 2023 15th of Tishrei, 5784 Parashat Suckot Sukkot I
Le 23:23 -44 Nu 29:12-16 Zec 14 Rev 7:9-17