There Is No Shortcut Through Suffering

by Andrew Forrest

The essence of the devil’s testing of Jesus in the Wilderness in Matthew 4 is about suffering. The crucial question: is there a shortcut through suffering for Jesus?

Jesus and the devil are in agreement: Jesus will reign in the end. The question is, can he receive his glory without going through suffering? Look carefully and see that the temptations are all about a shortcut through suffering: food instead of fasting, safety instead of danger, the crown without the cross.

The temptation for Jesus to avoid suffering must have been nearly irresistible.

Nearly irresistible, but not ultimately so. Jesus resists. He knows that, for whatever reason, there is no shortcut through suffering in this life. For whatever reason, the cross comes before the crown.

I wish I could tell you that it is possible to live life without difficulty, but that would be a lie. The good news, though, is that there is nothing unusual about your difficulties–everyone has trials. The even better news is that God redeems all that he allows, and that our “present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

So, there’s no shortcut through suffering. It’s just one foot in front of the other. But, be hopeful: the Lord has something amazing planned at the end.

Today’s Scripture

Matthew 4:1-11

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4 comments

Sunny Kern January 8, 2019 - 6:13 am

Suffering and difficulty are unavoidable in this world. I take encouragement from Jesus’ words, “…In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b It is amazing how alive the scripture is in that it speaks differently at different times and in different ways to different people. One author I read this morning focused on Jesus’ life of prayer and fasting as the reason Jesus saw the world differently and was abel to resist the temptations of the evil one. He you wondered if we, too, wouldn’t see the world differently if we were actively engaged in lives of prayer and fasting. I have always seen Jesus’ familiarity with the scripture as the tool that enabled him to overcome temptation. I found that especially true when I looked at his biblical responses in the context of Israel’s journey in the wilderness. God is alive and when we face him as we read the scripture He speaks words of life to us. Of course, you are constantly encouraging us to encounter God in the scripture.

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Andrew Forrest January 9, 2019 - 6:40 am

I know for me that I need to be praying and fasting more—no question.

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Mary Ann January 8, 2019 - 8:28 am

Suffering comes in many forms. Conflict is everywhere. How we respond can be life changing. When I have stepped back and looked at conflict or my suffering as an opportunity to grown/learn/move forward, the Lord has always shown me the way. Matthew 4:1-11 is a good reminder for me.

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Andrew Forrest January 9, 2019 - 6:39 am

Yes: it’s not what we want, but it is an opportunity to grow.

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