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DAILY DEVOTIONS
 

  In more than three decades of my Christian life, I have been blest by 2 types of Daily devos' (matter not exceeding 500 words) in universal Christian literature. Not only those Devos' which have a different theme everyday but also the ones which revolve around a certain theme over a period of time, say a fortnight, have richly edified me. In fact, both styles have their own inherent advantages. If the former style caters to the varying spiritual needs of a christian from day-to-day, the latter aims 'to ground' a child of God in a certain subject in order he derives the full benefits of the deep insightful study of a certain topic, spread over a fixed span of time.

In my Daily devo page, I have consciously tried to go in for 'a blend of both the styles' whereby within a constant theme, I would be aiming to focus on different facets of it which admittedly is a closer imitation of the 'Constant theme' style than the 'Varying topics' one.

Having dwelt on the topic of Christian journey and the “Conquest of Canaan” in the previous months, now in the month of March, considering that we are in the season of Lent, I intend to focus on the subject- “Lent season”.

Once again, let me wish you a happy and an edifying read…

Suresh Manoharan




March 5th

The stark contrast!



“At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, …” - Mark 1:12-13
 
  Continuing with our theme of “Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness” which is the foundational to our Lenten Season meditations, today let us come to the settings of the “battle” where one of the fiercest combats in the spiritual realm was fought between the Powers of darkness and “a Son of man” (Jesus is found using this phrase whilst referring to himself, 81 times in the Gospels) donning fallible human flesh.

The Judean wilderness where Jesus engaged Satan in a personal, one-to- one encounter is a hot, barren, desolate area that extends west from the Dead Sea almost to Jerusalem, and is some thirty-five miles long and fifteen miles wide. George Adam Smith, a reputed Scottish theologian describes it as an area of yellow sand and crumbling limestone. It is an area of contorted strata, where the ridges run in all directions as if they were warped and twisted. The hills are like dust heaps, the limestone is blistered and peeling, the rocks are bare and jagged, and often the ground sounds hollow. Nowhere in Palestine could Jesus have been more humanly isolated or in less comfort! Add to this the company of fierce wild animals and the fact that Satan reserved the fiercest of his temptations (Matt 4:1-10) for the time when Jesus was at his weakest physically (drained after 40 days of fasting) and the picture of “all thorns and no roses” becomes complete.

Now compare this “theatre of temptation” of the Second Adam (i.e. Jesus), where he triumphed over sin, with the cozy, comfort of Garden of Eden where Adam (with grass eating tame lions and tigers for company) faced the temptation and fell and the contrast would not be more pronounced and starker! As a part of wider cosmic battle, his victory over Satan in the least favorable of circumstances was akin to a gladiatorial contest in which one contestant takes on his fully armed adversary with no weapons and yet defeats him, using merely the limbs, as both weapons of offense and defense! Mind you to Jesus in his earthly sojourn, no privileges were given. He-as mentioned earlier - was donning the same fallible flesh, as he took on Satan in the most severe of all combats, ever fought in the ethereal realm. Besides settling the score (the first Adam had succumbed) with Satan in the wider cosmic battle, these temptations of Jesus’ also eminently qualified him for the Divine post of a sympathetic and empathetic HIGH PRIEST of all mankind, post his resurrection and ascension (Heb 2:17,18). In this High priestly role, Jesus can easily identify himself with all of us in our temptations, since he himself, has been through it all!

Prayer:

Father, what a wonderful High priest, you have given us in this dispensation of grace, the one who can empathize with us in all of our temptations. We praise thee, once again in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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