The Temptations of Calvary
George H. Morrison
That our Lord's temptations were intensely real is the accepted faith of Christendom. He was tempted in all points like as we are. Unless He was really and cruelly tempted and knew the full meaning of resistance, He can never in any helpful way be the friend of tempted men and women. And if He is not Friend, then He is not Savior, for a Savior, whatever else he is, must be vitally identified with man. Our Lord's sinlessness was not endowment. It was rather an unparalleled achievement. It was not a gift bestowed on Him by heaven. It was a moral and spiritual victory. It was wrought out, moment after moment, by a will sustained in perfect poise with God, instantly and unswervingly obedient. Now always where the heart is there is the sorest onset of temptation. Temptation has always its eye upon the citadel, though it may seem to be leveled at the outworks. And that is why, right through the gospel story, the bitterest temptations of our Lord are to be found converging on the Cross. How, then, was our Lord tempted in regard to the great experience of Calvary? To what suggestions, winging from the darkness, had He to offer victorious resistance? Let us reverently give our thought to that.
We see Him first, and we see Him often, tempted to avoid the Cross. That sore temptation never left Him. At the very outset of His ministry, such was the suggestion of the devil. It runs like some dark thread of hell through all the encounters of the wilderness. Let Him with all His brilliant gifts ally Himself with worldly policies, and what need of the bloody way of Calvary? It smote Him again after many days, and this time through the lips of Simon Peter. Was not our Lord recalling the scene out in the wilderness when He said, "Get thee behind Me, Satan" (Matt. 16:23)? And near the end when the Greeks came craving an interview with Christ, was that not the old temptation back again? Why, in that thrilling hour, did ...
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