6000 years ago: Satan tempts Eve to think of herself before God. She does.1
4000 years later: Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness with the same offer on a different contract—look out for Yourself. He doesn’t.2
For three years Satan tempts Jesus to put Himself first. Just once. But He doesn’t.3
Weeks pass. Prophecy’s unmovable deadline approaches.4 Satan’s getting wildly desperate. He has Jesus flogged, tortured, spat on, forsaken by all, but Christ remains sinless and selfless.5
Satan nails Him to a cross and lifts Him high for the final attack. If he can plant a tiny seed of self-preservation in Christ’s torture-hazed mind the victory will be his. Demons enter religious leaders, soldiers and the criminal alongside as they hurl a hellfire of temptation at Him, “IF you are the Son of God save Yourself.”6 He still doesn’t.
Jesus! Defend Yourself! Prove Yourself! It was the frantic heart cry of every disciple, every weeping soul at the foot of the cross (and Satan).
Finally, the Jewish leaders unknowingly speak a profound truth, “He cannot save Himself.”7
Jesus could not save Himself—and us—so He chose us.8
Today He invites us to find our self, and crucify it.9
Julian Archer is the author of Help! I’ve Been Blessed! and writes from Toowoomba, Queensland.
- Genesis 3:5-6
- Matthew 4:1-11
- Hebrews 4:15-16
- Daniel 9:24-27
- 2 Corinthians 5:21
- Luke 23:35-39
- Matthew 27:42
- 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
- James 4:10; Luke 14:11; Matthew 16:24; Philippians 2:5-13