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The Trials of Great Bible Characters (11 of 15)
The First Trial of Jesus
Clarence E. Macartney
The lights have been extinguished. In the vast
limestone cavern where we are standing, far beneath
the surface of the earth, the guide tells us to be
silent and listen. As we listen in the darkness and in
the silence, we can hear far beneath us the flow of an
underground river. Races and generations of men have
come and gone. Empires and kingdoms have risen and
fallen, but still that stream has been flowing on in
the darkness, never ceasing, its work never done. So
temptation flows like a river through the life of man.
How long temptation has been here! How old it is! How
unchanging it is! It is as recent as the latest birth
and old as death. It touches the lives of the fool and
the philosopher, the prince and the pauper, the savage
and the sage, of John and Nero, John the Baptist and
Herod, Paul and Judas. Temptation is the warfare from
which there is no discharge.
The last temptation of Jesus was in the Garden of
Gethsemane, when He prayed, "If it be possible, let
this cup pass from me." Here we are concerned with the
first assault of Satan, the first trial of Jesus.
Temptation comes at the beginning of His life and then
departs from Him "for a season," but only to return at
the end. Man's warfare with temptation is not ended
until he obtains his crown. Until then it is not safe
for him to lay his armor down.
The temptation of Jesus was a natural and inevitable
prelude to His work as the Redeemer from sin. On the
cross He tasted death for every man, and in the
wilderness He tasted temptation for every man. The
temptation of Jesus was a lonely experience. Mark, in
his account, says He "was with the wild beasts."
Temptation is something you cannot share with anyone
else. Satan always talks to one man, never to ten men
or a thousand or ten thousand. He takes the soul whom
he desires to ...
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