Monthly Archives: March 2017

Fifth Sunday in Lent – John 8:46-59

Jesus makes it plain in today’s Gospel that He is the promised Messiah on Whom all the faithful of the Old Testament have set their hope. He tells the Jews, Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad. Before that, though, He tells them, If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, “He is our God.” If that wasn’t enough for them to pick up stones to throw at Him, He takes on the divine name, before Abraham was, I am.

The last two words Jesus speaks are the tipping point. No longer can the Jews hide their hatred of Jesus. They pick up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. His hour has not yet come, but is fast approaching. The Jews can deal with Jesus as a pious teacher. When He takes on the divine name and says He is before Abraham, while also being the One in Whom Abraham believed and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, that’s too much. This cannot be the Messiah they were looking for.

Yet there He is. They have to deal with what He says. Their way of dealing with it is to make sure He is arrested, tried, found guilty of something He is innocent, and let the Roman authorities do the dirty work of ridding Judea of this meddlesome Messianic figure.

We also have to deal with what He says. Jesus says, Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? The Jews were not able to show Him the littlest sin he committed. They must recognize Jesus as perfectly holy, including what He teaches. They call Him a liar and say He doesn’t speak the things of God but the things of Satan. What do we do with the many pronouncements of innocence in His judgment? What about His resurrection? What about the Word of the Lord growing to the ends of the earth? If what the Jews say about Jesus in John chapter eight is true, then Satan is Lord and not Jesus Christ.

Now you see the foolishness inherent in the Jews’ slander of our Lord. They can’t prove anything. Neither can we when we find ourselves saying and believing the same things they said and believed then. Jesus is a liar when I don’t get everything I ask in prayer. Jesus has a demon when I discover He dies for all sinners, yet not all sinners are spared everlasting death and hell. I love what Jesus says in the Gospels, but I can’t get behind everything He says, especially the stuff about loving my enemies. “They” are my enemies for a reason. Maybe Jesus will look the other way just this once and let me have my way.

You want your way with Jesus? Your way is the way of death. Your way is the way of the Jews who accuse Jesus. He can’t be greater than Abraham. Abraham is our father. We have no king but Caesar. As for this Jesus, well, He says and does a lot of good things, but He’s not for me. His way is too narrow. He lays down too many rules and regulations. I can’t live like I want. I’m not what you’d call a holy person. I have my own problems. I have my own life to live. I can’t be bothered with a Middle Eastern man telling me what to do and what not to do.

Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light. Had you, and the Jews who accuse Him, read the Scriptures, you would have seen this to be true. Who will you believe, the Son of God Himself Who testifies about Himself and glorifies His Father in heaven? Or will you believe a group of scholars who are more interested in preserving their way of life?

The yoke and burden of Jesus Christ is to carry your sin to the cross and bury them in the tomb. Jesus comes to die for sins committed by both Jew and Gentile. Only a sinless sacrifice is able to atone for sin. This is what the author of the epistle to the Hebrews refers when he writes that Jesus, the Tabernacle with skin, entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption…. He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Jesus comes to take care of the Father’s business. The Father’s business is to mediate a new covenant, a new promise that only He can make and keep. He makes it to Satan in Adam and Eve’s presence. He keeps it when His only-begotten Son is implanted by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary through the Word spoken to her. He keeps it when His chosen people, for whom Jesus came, did not know Him. His own people gave Jesus into the hands of the authorities to have them crucify their Savior. The cross becomes the holy place where Jesus enters, once for all, to make the ultimate sacrifice for sin. His blood is sufficient payment. He becomes what He was not, sin, in order that you become what you were not, righteous.

This is what Abraham saw and believed when he took his only son Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him just as God told him. He believed God would provide the sacrifice even though he was ready to slay his son. God provided that sacrifice for him: a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. The ram is a sufficient substitute. Jesus is Abraham’s, and our, sufficient substitute. You will never taste death, for Jesus Christ has kept His Father’s Word for you. He delivers you from your enemies. He rescues you from the man of violence. He declares you righteous by washing you in baptismal water and feeding you with His very Body and Blood. He alone cuts the cords of the wicked and sets you free.

Advertisements

Third Sunday in Lent – Luke 11:14-28

In case you missed it over the last couple of weeks, Satan’s might is great. God’s Word says it, especially in our Lord’s temptations. We experience it ourselves. We are tempted every day, seemingly every hour. We see it when we look around. Satan is hard at work to draw all attention toward anything except God working in His Church.

Despite all the works of Satan to disrupt matters in the Church, the home, and in the state, we are comforted in believing the power of the Lord Jesus is even greater. Consider Him casting out demons in today’s Gospel. Jesus calls what He does the finger of God at work, drawing us back to Exodus where the magicians of Pharaoh couldn’t reproduce what God did through the plagues. Jesus mentioning the finger of God also draws us forward to Saint John’s first epistle, where he writes the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

There you have the whole reason for every season as Christians. Jesus has already destroyed the works of the devil once by struggling with Satan and overcoming him. Not only does Jesus do this in overcoming Satan’s temptations, He also does it in proving the Canaanite woman’s faith, as well as in healing those in Luke chapter eleven while having to deal with those who think Jesus’ appearance is to do the work of the prince of demons. Some even want Him to do bigger and better things. Here we recall what happened when our Lord lay on the cross. Some yelled at Him to come down from the cross so they would believe in Him. Even in His deepest agony our Lord cannot have a moment’s peace.

Jesus destroys the works of the devil by casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. Saint Luke writes this for our consolation. Jesus is Master over the devil and his kingdom. Like Job, Satan throws everything at Jesus. Even our Lord’s own people refused to see Him as Messiah. All the evidence was before them, even the writings of the prophets concerning the coming Savior. They conveniently ignored what is written in order to believe another narrative of their own choosing: He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons.

Why would the “lord of the flies”, as Beelzebul might be translated, cast out his own? It makes no sense. Then again, everything that our Lord’s opponents say and do against Him makes no sense. The finger of God has come among them, and they look for a way to show it is actually the finger of Satan at work in casting out demons.

A while back I was watching a video conversation with people who were agnostic or atheist. A Christian was leading the discussion. He read a miracle of Jesus and asked those sitting with him to react to what they heard. There was no pressure on those gathered to convert. He was simply asking for their response. One person responded that the account did nothing for them. The Gospel writer could have faked the story. Jesus could have had a confederate working for him like some magicians. After all, magicians were prevalent in those days. The book of Acts shows this to be true with the case of Bar-Jesus. It is not reasonable to say that God becomes man in order to destroy the works of the devil. More evidence is necessary. Simply to believe without actual, tactile, first-hand evidence is foolish.

This is what we face as Christians in a post-Christian world. In many ways it is like pre-Constantinian Christianity. Constantine was an emperor of the ancient Roman Empire who “legalized” Christianity in the early fourth century A.D. His “legalizing” Christianity put an end to persecutions and put Christians in the favor of the ruling authorities. In many ways the Church still enjoys some of the favors that began almost 1,700 years ago. Those favors may disappear someday. What will happen when churches are taxed? What about open persecution of Christians in our country? How will we react to Christianity falling out of favor not only with government, but with much of our fellow citizens?

We react in the way Christians have reacted for over 2,000 years. We see Jesus continually overcoming the power of the Satan through His gifts: the Holy Word proclaimed in sermon, song, and absolution, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion. Jesus did not leave the Christian Church in a pickle after His resurrection and ascension. He left us with designated instruments: water, Word, bread, wine, and whatever else belongs to the preaching office that delivers the comfort of the forgiveness of sins in Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

The Holy Things given to holy ones destroys the devil’s kingdom. Yet the world takes no note of it. The world even laughs at us for clinging to what seems like silly rituals. Jesus suffered the same barbs when He accomplished it. The world can’t see what Christ’s Church sees. Consider that every child that comes into the world is born into the kingdom of the devil. The world laughs at us for saying that; even some Christians think we’re crazy to say that an infant needs saving from Satan. Yet at our Lord’s mandate we bring infants, young children, even adults to the font to be washed clean from sin and made a new creation in water and Word.

When you are overwhelmed with temptation and seared with many accusations of your conscience, you don’t stay away from the Gifts until you’ve got your life under control. You run to the Lord’s house and take comfort in His Word of reconciliation. You kneel before His altar and open your mouth to receive His forgiveness in His Supper. You rest in Christ as you sing hymns, speak Psalms, and live out your vocations at home and at work.

Jesus carries out His work for you in His Church. He will continue to do so until His return to raise the dead. Instead of looking to the world’s reaction to what happens here, we look to Christ. We see and believe that His Word will not lie. He has set up His finger of God, so to speak, in His Gifts to cast out Satan and give us His love, His joy, His peace, and His life. Even at home when we open the Bible or fold our hands, Satan falls and Christ rejoices. The Son of God has appeared to destroy the works of the devil. Don’t be ashamed, for Jesus is your refuge.

The Finger of God At Work in the Church

We need to know that Christ’s work of driving out the devil never ceases but continues to go on in the Christian world until the Last Day. Wherever Christ’s kingdom is, his wondrous work continues, causing the dumb to speak, the blind to see, and the deaf to hear. When Christ came into the flesh he set this work going, and it continues in Christendom day for day till the world’s end. For this task Christ left us designated instruments: holy baptism, the blessed Sacrament, the Word and absolution, and whatever else belongs to the ministry of preaching, in order to enable us to destroy the devil’s kingdom, to take from him his captives and cast him out of people. That promise is written in Isaiah 55:11: Verbum meum non redibit vacuum, “[My word] shall not return unto me void.” Just as rain fructifies the dry land, causing it to become green and alive, so God’s Word produces fruit wherever it comes. The Holy Spirit accompanies the Word, to enlighten, kindle faith, cleanse, and free people from the devil’s power and rule.

So what that the world takes no note of it! That was true then when Christ personally accomplished it. For the world is not worthy of seeing the smallest spark of God’s wondrous signs and works, but deserves to be blind, senseless, and deaf; for it dishonors, reviles, and slanders the Lord Christ as we see here. We Christians, however, who have and believe the Word should see, know, and be comforted in our hearts that god has vested us with the power here upon earth to continue to drive out the devil also now – indeed it is our duty! – both spiritually and physically.

Every child that comes into this world is born into the kingdom of the devil, the lord of death, who exercises his sway through sin’s tyranny. But upon Christ’s command we bring a child to holy baptism, speak the words of promise which he commanded, and the child is born anew into God’s kingdom; and the devil must yield and get out. God’s grace, through Christ, is spoken by God to the child, inasmuch as he or she is baptized into Christ’s death. When a person whom the devil has greatly overwhelmed and seared with many accusations comes to me with heavy heart and troubled conscience seeking comfort and instruction, I have the mandate, as does every Christian, to comfort my brother and pronounce God’s grace, for Christ’s sake, upon him. The devil must yield, not to me, a poor and wretched sinner, but to the Word which the Lord Christ left us upon earth. When your conscience is weak and terrified, therefore, and you are unable to grasp tightly enough the comfort that God graciously wants you to have, the forgiveness of sins, then know that Christ has given the Lord’s Supper, his true body and blood to eat and to drink, so that you have no reason further to doubt that his body was given for your sins and his blood poured out for your transgressions. Where such faith and trust are present, there it is impossible for the devil to dwell and hold sway.

This work, therefore, must continue apace in Christendom, in order to drive the devil out by the finger of God. Christ began it, as St. Paul states in Acts 10:38, “[Jesus] went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed by the devil; for God was with him.” The Christian church continues this work until the world’s end, indeed more and greater works than those Christ did, as he himself promised (John 14:12): “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

Martin Luther, House Postil for the Third Sunday in Lent (Luke 11:14-28)

Second Sunday in Lent – Matthew 15:21-28

Today’s Holy Gospel is connected to last week’s Holy Gospel. Last week we heard Jesus overcome Satan’s temptations. This week we hear a Canaanite woman, a woman not of the lost sheep of the house of Israel, begging for the healing of her demon oppressed daughter. She is confronted with what look like temptations. Jesus ignores her. His disciples begged Him to send her away, for she is crying out after us. Jesus seemingly insults the woman again before she begs for help one more time. That’s when things are not as they seem.

Saint John gives us a hint as to why things are not as they seem for both the woman and our Lord. He writes in his first epistle: everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Think of it! The faith that clings to Jesus Christ as Savior, the faith implanted into your life through hearing the Gospel preached to you by a preacher, overcomes the world. Think of the immense warfare, both physical and spiritual, that is at the world’s command against Christians. What power must dwell in faith if it wins over such enemies, especially in weaklings like you and me.

If faith has a great triumph over the world, how much greater than the triumph in contending with the only Son of the Most High God. Today we hear such a triumph from a woman outside the pale of God’s chosen people. We hear this woman proclaim her only hope for salvation and for healing her daughter.

We get a hint something is different with this woman when she calls Jesus Son of David. How does she know this Messianic term? Saint Mark hints that she heard Him. As Saint Paul rightly says in his epistle to the Romans, faith comes by hearing. She heard the proclamation of the coming kingdom of the Messiah; a kingdom that knows neither geographical nor ethnic boundaries. She is included in His kingdom. She believes Jesus is able to heal her daughter. So she dares to call Him Son of David.

You would think this would perk our Lord’s ears. He doesn’t respond. He shouldn’t respond. Only the disciples’ interference breaks His silence. Jesus doesn’t mean to be rude in remaining silent. It’s nothing personal. It’s strictly business. His Father sent Jesus first to the Jews. He dare not help. Was He supposed to disobey His Father’s will? It seems as if God is against her.

It seems as if God is against us when we get His silent treatment. You know it all too well. You pray, you cry out to God in your time of need. Yet you hear nothing. It is as if our dear Savior has gone deaf and mute for your sake. He seems to listen to everyone except you. Like the Canaanite woman, you might even fall at His feet, so to speak, and shorten the prayer to Lord, help me!

The big difference between you, me, and the Canaanite woman is that the woman shows up all of us, even our Lord’s disciples. We’d quit. We would stop praying. We’d go looking for another savior somewhere else. What is worse, Jesus calls the woman a dog. Put more precisely, a puppy. Puppies, like full-grown dogs, hang around tables expecting to receive a morsel from the table. Even when one doesn’t come from our hand, they’ll take the crumbs that fall from the table. You can’t stop every crumb from hitting the floor. It’s their share. Let them have it.

It seems as if the Canaanite woman should echo the lament of Job: God has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes. I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me. You have turned cruel to me; with the might of your hand you persecute me. The Lord has fallen silent and you think He no longer cares. This is a test. God doesn’t tempt, but He does test your faith. We would probably fail the test. The woman passes the test with one simple admission: Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.

Jesus set His own trap. The Canaanite woman trips the spring. Jesus smiles. He wanted her to spring it. He sees what we do not see. He sees the faith implanted in the woman as she heard Him proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God. As for us, we perhaps would rather sit in the trap and lament our condition. How like a sinner not to lament their condition but lament the One Who has trampled down death and sin in His wake. God holds her utter unworthiness as a Canaanite before her so that in this battle of faith she becomes a true Israelite, one who “struggles with God”, and a true daughter of Abraham, for it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham as Paul says in Galatians chapter three.

You know how you stand before God outside of Jesus Christ. You are lost. Forsaken. Hopeless. Helpless. You have heard the Good News. In this hearing you have received forgiveness, life, and sonship with God in Jesus Christ. A fruit of this faith in Jesus is to struggle with Him, forsaking the world’s easy way of doing things for the struggle with God. In this struggle with a God Who always listens to His beloved children, you are strengthened for greater struggles yet to come.

Like the Canaanite woman, Jesus wants to be trapped. Just when you think you’re nothing in His kingdom, you hear again that you are someone for whom Christ has died. Once God strips away your need to find another way out, you see there is only one Way out: Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. His way is to hear your prayer and grant what is good for you according to His will. His way is to lead you through the valley of the shadow of death into the pleasant pasture of eternal life. This way is yours because of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Who suffers death as the price of your redemption. This way is yours because Jesus lives. The victory is won. The spoils are yours in Jesus Christ. He remembers you. He saves you.

The Church Is The Pupil of Christ

The church is the pupil of Christ. It sits at His feet and listens to His Word, that it may know how to judge everything—how to serve in one’s vocation and to fill civil offices, yes, how to eat, drink, and sleep—so that there is no doubt about any area of life, but that we, surrounded on all sides by the rays of the Word, may continually walk in joy and in the most beautiful light.

But alas, we are not aware of our gifts. Only those who are spiritual rejoice and give thanks to God. Because the rest are carnal, ungrateful, greedy, and proud, they will be deprived even of what they have; and the punishment will befall them that they will listen to Satan instead of Christ and to heretics instead of the apostles, namely, to men who seek in the Word their own wisdom and glory and everything else except the joy and the heavenly blessings the Word brings us.

This wretched situation should grieve all Christians, that in the great light and glory of the Word the majority remains blind and loves the darkness more than the light (John 3:19)….

We must appeal to our touchstone and look at the Word of God. We must not simply give our tacit approval to such hideous sanctity, but we must ask whether God has commanded such a thing.

If you see a baptized person walking in his baptismal faith and in the confession of the Word and performing the works of his calling, these works, however ordinary, are truly holy and admirable works of God, even though they are not impressive in the eyes of men….

The church is the pupil of Christ; and although it teaches, it does not teach anything except what has been entrusted to it by Christ. Even the Spirit of God does the same thing (John 16:14): “He will take what is Mine.”

Therefore if we want to practice godliness, let us not do so by means of unfruitful works but by means of fruitful ones. That is, let us first receive the Word of God, and let us believe in Christ. Then let us walk in our simple calling: Let the husband support his family; let the maid obey her mistress; let the mother wash, dress, and teach the children.

Because these works are done in one’s calling and in faith in the Son of God, they shine in the sight of God, of the angels, and of the entire church of God. For they are clothed in the heavenly light, the Word of God, even though in the sight of the pope’s church they are despised for being ordinary and common.

Martin Luther, Selections from the Genesis Lectures, specifically Genesis 13:14-15

First Sunday in Lent – Matthew 4:1-11

When we pray the petition “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” in the Lord’s Prayer, we learn that “God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come”.

The temptations Jesus undergoes are centered on those three evil plans and purposes: the devil, the world, and the sinful nature. Granted Jesus Christ does not have a sinful nature. Satan, however, tempts our Lord to think He can turn stones into bread. Satan gets right to the heart of things for many of us: the stomach. Jesus has fasted for forty days and nights in the wilderness. He is hungry. He is weak. This is the perfect time to go after our Lord with the temptation that He can satisfy His hunger.

Our sinful nature will take every chance it gets to find another source of satisfaction. We don’t even have to fast from food for forty days, forty hours, or even forty minutes. We boast about staying away from social media for forty days or perhaps not getting angry or any other Lententide discipline. Yet after Easter we’ll march right back to them as if they were old friends. We say we’ll carry our disciplines into the rest of the year, but we’ll not make it through Lent without getting mad at least once a day.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus doesn’t need to perform a miracle for the miracle’s sake. He is able to withstand hunger and physical pain for our sake. His heavenly Father will preserve Him in every struggle. He does the same for us when we suffer temptation not to trust in God’s providence. We follow in the footsteps of Jesus and try to live from the Father’s caring hand. We still stumble along the way and command stones to become bread in our own way. All the more then do we look to Jesus Christ as the author and perfecter of our faith, as the Psalmist proclaims in Psalm 121: I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth…. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Jesus is taken to the pinnacle of the temple and commanded to throw Himself to the ground. Angels will come to help Him. How presumptuous of Satan to quote Scripture, actually misquote Scripture on purpose, to get Jesus to doubt what He already knows. The devil is a liar; the father of all liars. His first lie was to our first parents in the Garden of Eden. Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?… You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

The name Satan means “deceiver”. He knows what God says. He also knows how to twist His Word to make it say what he wants it to say in order to get you to believe your own word. You sit in the pew, you listen to preaching, and you bask in the forgiveness of sins and eternal life Jesus gives here in His gifts. Yet you don’t “feel” anything; you don’t think you get anything out of it except the same old thing week after week. If only the pastor would give me some “homework” and help me get through the week with a pithy saying or two that’ll help me stay positive. I don’t need to trust my baptism. I don’t need the Lord’s Supper. I don’t need to read Holy Scripture. I learned all that in confirmation class.

It is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Our heavenly Father works in His ways, not your ways. You can’t invent new sayings or new sacraments and call them your church. You can, however, tell Satan what to do with his way of death. When you lose your way, Jesus is always there, ready to pick you up and put you on His path of righteousness; a path He has already walked for your sake. As King David sang: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me…. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The last temptation concerns the kingdoms of the world. Jesus is taken to a high mountain and shown every empire. All these are His if only He denies He is the Son of God and worships Satan. All it takes is a simple bow of the knee. Adam and Eve did it while not realizing what they did until it was too late.

Satan doesn’t own the kingdoms of the world. Yet he offers them to us as if they were his to give and ours to receive. You could get rich quick. You could win friends and influence people. You could actually enjoy life. All you need to do is walk out those church doors and never return. Your new “church” is your sphere of influence. The coffee shop is “church”. The beauty shop is “church”. Your favorite store, the Internet, your best friend’s ear, even quiet solitude on a peaceful walk around town is now your “church”. You don’t need the kingdom of God in Satan’s scheme. He’ll be happy to show you just how much fun it is to be of the world as well as in the world.

Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” You will never get what Satan promises. He is a liar. He told Adam and Eve they will be like God, knowing good and evil. They knew good and evil, but they were certainly not like God. Now they could not do good. Every attempt to do good on their part still fell short of the goodness God expects.

God is worshiped when His dear children receive good things from a giving God. The Lord meets you here with joy, not with anger, fear, and sternness. He gives you new life in your baptism. No sin can now cling to you, for you are all wet in His forgiveness. He strengthens you as you eat and drink His true Body and true Blood for the forgiveness of sins. Bacon, eggs, and coffee are a great meal, but they do not bestow what the Lord’s Supper bestows.

As Saint Paul says in Romans chapter six: thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. Note who runs the verbs. You have become obedient. God does all the heavy lifting. He puts His Good News of His righteousness into your heart. He sets you free from sin. He makes you a slave to righteousness. You are captive to His freedom in Christ Jesus. You are captive not in shackles and chains, always trying to do something. You stand still and receive the good gifts of forgiveness and life the Lord gives you.

God’s will is done “when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.” Every effort outside of Jesus to overcome temptation will fail. In Christ, however, your suffering is turned to joy. Never did Jesus fail when tempted. Though you suffer temptation now, and even give in to them, Christ does not give up for you. His love for you goes to the cross, where He bleeds and dies for you, bestowing His righteousness in His blood. His love for you emerges from the tomb victorious over death, giving you new life in Him. He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge. Believe it for Jesus’ sake.