A Salvation Bought With Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Have you ever had one of those moments when one little bit of Scripture leaps from the pages and punches you in the mouth (in a good, wonderful way)? It happened to me this morning. I was reading the account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, which I’ve read, like, infinity times (hat tip to Napoleon Dynamite). And I’ve made all the “right” applications of the passage to my life. Jesus was suceeding in overcoming temptation where Israel had failed. Jesus was overcoming and conquering Satan, living a sinless life in my place. Jesus was fighting against Satan with the word of God, which provides a model for us. And on and on.

But then this little sentence jumped out:

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Matthew 4:11)

The angels were ministering to Jesus. That’s interesting, I thought. Why did Jesus need the angels to minister to him?

Because, you idiot, he just endured the full, intense, exhausting, carefully calculated, carefully planned, forcefully executed onslaught of Satan himself! He went head to head in an all-out battle against King of Darkness! He hadn’t eaten for forty days, and was probably physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. After Jesus won the battle against Satan, the angels ministered to him, strengthening him, comforting him, lifting him.

Sometimes I think of Jesus as walking through life without ever really struggling. I mean, come on, he was the Son of God. Surely that made things easier for him, right?

Wrong! What scripture makes clear is that Jesus experienced the utter fullness of our humanity, and was tempted in every deep, full, multi-faceted sense of the word. Just because Jesus didn’t have a sinful nature doesn’t mean that it was easy to resist sin. Remember, Adam and Eve didn’t have a sinful nature either.

Jesus endured the constant, relentless onslaught of Satan’s choicest temptations. Jesus wrestled with Satan himself, not a middle level management demon. I don’t think Satan himself needs to bother with me. He can simply send one of his demons to tempt me. But not so with with Jesus. The Prince of Darkness harnessed all his powers of temptation and deceit in an effort to derail our Savior. In Hebrews 5:7 it says:

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Jesus fought for our salvation with loud cries and tears. Cries of desperation, discouragement, exhaustion, and numbness. Tears of grief, betrayal, and heartache. He was sinless, but he was also a Man of Sorrows, intimately acquainted with grief, betrayed by friends, assaulted by enemies, sweating drops of blood in Gethsemane.

For thirty-three years Jesus was pressed, stretched, and assaulted on every side. The relief didn’t come until he uttered the words, “It is finished.” Why did Jesus endure this? To win our salvation! To do what Adam, and Noah, and Israel, and David, and Solomon, and me, and you all failed to do. Jesus spent all of his might, strength, and emotion to conquer sin and Satan, and to make our forgiveness possible.

I’m so grateful for Jesus, the King of Kings who desperately needed the angels to minister to him. I’m grateful that we have a Savior who was tempted in every way, and who now ministers himself on our behalf. That’s the kind of Savior that I need.

  • http://galwaygal12.blogspot.com/ sonika

    Whoa. I'm doing a study in Luke with a group called Good Morning Girls (http://www.goodmorninggirls.org/), and today's reading was the Annunciation. Now, I've read/heard Lk 1.37 – "For nothing will be impossible with God" – approximately a bazillion times. And in the early, still-dark hours of this morning, I finally realized that it's an absolute statement – NOTHING is impossible. Nothing. And as I read, it jumped and danced and was alive. I totally know what you mean.

  • http://asmallwork.posterous.com Ryan

    Stephen: Thanks for this. You're so right, with familiarity we sometimes lose the power of the text. The active obedience of Jesus was difficult, draining, and exhausting; and it is so necessary. Yes, this is the Savior I need too!

  • Bill. S

    In regards to this statement that you made and I Quote:

    What scripture makes clear is that Jesus experienced the utter fullness of our humanity, and was tempted in every deep, full, multi-faceted sense of the word. Just because Jesus didn’t have a sinful nature doesn’t mean that it was easy to resist sin. Remember, Adam and Eve didn’t have a sinful nature either."Unquote

    Paul seems to disagree with your premise that Adam and Eve were without sin when he teaches in Romans. Remember Paul the former Pharisee:

    "For the creature was made subject to vanity [King James Margin: "futility"], not willingly, but by reason of Him [God] Who has subjected [Gk: ‘subjects’—aorist tense—subjecting is still going on] the same in hope" (Rom. 8:20).

    Paul understood that all the creatures that God had created would suffer from this unwilling vanity. This is a hard pill for most christians to swallow nevertheless, that's what the scriptures reveal.

    (Rom 8:21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

    Well. well, well. Looks like the creatures are made in bondage of corruption. Are we sure that the "Adam and Eve creatures" were sin free as you so suggest, and If so why did God make provisions for them with a Saviour at the foundation of the world?

    (I Pet. 1:19-20) "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifested in these last times for you"

    Another witness:

    (Rev. 13:8) "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb [Christ] slain from the FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD" .

    You are in contradiction in this article and once the true understanding of sin is lost in regards to Adam and Eve, it renders the remaining article useless on the subject of sin. You are in error.

    Sin is not nature. This a condition that every man suffers from from the beginning and God meant this to happen. God made this serpent Gen 3:1, and God said that everything was good! Gen 1:31. Imagine that?

    Please offer Scripture with a second witness in regards of the following claims that you make and please don't offer scripture that you feel might satisfy some these un-scriptural premise you are pushing:

    Please offer scripture whereas you state: The Prince of Darkness harnessed all his powers of temptation and deceit in an effort to derail our Savior.

    BTW. Satan does not sport the name Prince of Darkness in the entire Bible. I suggest you keep the sensationalizing to a minimum because one day you will have to answer to this foolishness.

    Need to see scripture where : Jesus fought for our salvation with loud cries and tears.
    When did this fight start? What chapter, and what verse?

    Please show scripture whereas you state that: Why did Jesus endure this? To win our salvation?
    Where was Jesus involved in a competitive activity which the end result being in his favor in order to win our salvation? Win our salvation from what? Is the great commission of Christ be altered into a competitive rivalry with a Las Vegas mentality of winning a few losing a few?

    Please provide scripture that outlines what Adam, and Noah, and Israel, and David, and Solomon, and me, and you all failed to do.

    Adam was the first of many creatures and the Gospel began with Adam and Eve and the seed. Noah was not set out on saving the world but rather preserving the seed mentioned in Genesis. David was a murdering king who became aware that there was going to be a resurrection, but salvation was never in the Israeli's vocabulary and most importanaly David was never converted. Remember David's last request to his son Solomon to kill his enemies, and make it bloody. Your contradictions never end. I just hope all the sheep out there take the time to study the scriptures and verify this mess of a presentation you have to offer as truth . Wow!

    • http://galwaygal12.blogspot.com/ sonika

      Hi, Bill. I don't have any personal stake in making this comment (I don't know Stephen personally)…and neither do I mean to antagonize you. I'd simply like to offer a suggestion: please be respectful. We may all differ on how much importance we place on Scriptural references vs. metaphorical writing…but that's hardly an excuse for a comment like yours, which is full of thoughtful questions but is also tinged with unnecessary aggression and hostility. And as long as you'd like to fling Bible verses like this, if I could offer you a verse which your comment reminded me of:

      "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear" (Eph 4.29).

      Even in online conversations, let's offer our words to God and try to use them to give grace to each other.

    • Stephen Altrogge

      Bill, I would be glad to try to answer some of your questions, but I don't get the feeling you're particularly interested in my answers. You seem to have come to my blog with the intent of debating, which I find to be useless online.

  • Cindy

    Bill, scripture is not simply words in a book but a living entity for our "training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). As such it cannot be dissected as a corpse but must be understood in it's entirety. Any apparent contradictions are a lack of knowledge on our part. So, since God created people in His image, they couldn't have been created with a "sinful nature" but were created with the potential to sin since they were given freedom of choice. Since Jesus "emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7) He faced the same struggles that we do. Hebrews 4:15 says "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin."

  • http://sevennotesofgrace.com Roz Barrett

    Reminds me of words in a great Michael Card song, ‘He was Heard’. Do you know it?