When Jesus was baptized, he heard the Father’s affirmation, “You are my Son whom I love. With you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). When we put our faith in Jesus, we are united with him. And because of our union with him, God is also speaking these words of affirmation to you, “You are my beloved son (or daughter). With you I am well pleased.”
I first heard this incredible (and almost unbelievable) truth during one of our sessions in Living Waters (to know more about this program, click here). And when I heard that, I can’t believe what I was hearing. I told myself, “God could not possibly tell that to me. That’s only for Jesus. I’m not worthy of those words.” I had a hard time receiving those words. I had a hard time receiving God’s unfailing love.
Biblically speaking, I know that God is love and that he loves me. But personally, I struggle receiving his love. It is not because I doubt his love. I don’t. The problem is my heart.
When I think of all the good things I’m doing – like being a good child, a good husband, a good father, and a good pastor – it is much easier for me to accept that God is really well pleased with me.
However, when I think of the many times I disobeyed his clear commands, the times when I succumbed to temptations over and over again, those are the times I find it hard to receive his love. It is easier to hear God speaking to me, “I am so displeased with you,” rather than, “Son, I love you. I still love you.”
But then, God made me realized that he loves me and is well pleased with me not because of the “pleasing” things I do for him, for my family or for my church. He loves me because of the “pleasing” things that Jesus accomplished on the cross in my behalf. And when I fall into temptation, he doesn’t love me less than he loves me when I’m being good. Jesus secured God’s love for me. Oh, tell me that’s not good news!
This truth is made clear in the story of Jesus’ temptation in Luke 4:1-13. This story, I believe, is not just telling us how to fight temptations like what Jesus did. It’s more than that. And it’s good news for me and for all of us who are honest and humble enough to admit that we are not really like Jesus. Because unlike him, we fell to countless temptations everyday. But thanks be to Jesus! He resisted every temptation of Satan. For us. For you. For me.
This is an excerpt from part 5 of the sermon series The Story of Jesus based on the story of Luke 4:1-13. I encourage you to listen to this sermon. You can also read and download this sermon. I also urge you to share this message to your friends.
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