Everywhere Israel failed Jesus succeeded.
It’s no coincidence that Jesus went out into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the devil, right after he was baptized and publicly confirmed as being the Son of God. There is an intentionality in Jesus’ actions that demonstrates he was going to re-enact the journey of some of Israel’s greatest failures in the wilderness, except he would succeed where they failed.
Israel had been declared God’s firstborn son during their rescue from Egypt (Exodus 4.22). Throughout their journey from Egypt to the doorstep of the Promised land they were tested and failed to trust God. Finally Israel sent spies into the Promised Land to spy it out which took 40 days. Ten of the twelve spies gave a bad report, which led to the rebellion and refusal to enter the promised land. Their failure resulted in 40 years in the wilderness until each person of that generation had died never entering the promised land.
Jesus on the other hand succeeded. Where Israel complained of hunger and even complained about the miraculous provision of manna Jesus declined Satan’s taunt to turn stone into bread to quench his hunger. Where Israel tested the Lord despite his presence amongst them in a pillar of smoke and fire in the tabernacle Jesus declined Satan’s taunt to test God by throwing himself from the pinnacle of the temple. Where Israel bowed down and worshipped the golden calf Jesus declined to worship Satan for all the kingdoms of the world. Where Israel failed Jesus succeeded.
Good Friday is a solemn day for the believer. Not only do we commemorate Jesus’ selfless sacrificial atoning death we also remember our failures, shortcomings, and sins that hung him there. And there in lies the beauty of the cross and salvation. Where I have failed Jesus succeeded. Where you have failed Jesus succeeded.
During his ministry Jesus told his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” So many of my failures come down to the fact that I don’t deny myself. So many of my failures come down to the fact that I don’t take up my cross and follow Jesus. However, I would like to remind you of what I am reminded of this Good Friday… Where I have failed and where you have failed, Jesus Succeeded.
Wherever you have failed, are failing, and will fail Jesus has succeeded. Just like Jesus knew the disciples would fail to follow him on Good Friday Jesus knows you will fail many a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, etc. Just like the disciples we must allow for the miracle and inheritance we have in Easter to be the catalyst to move us beyond our failures, our shortcomings, and our sins, to deny ourselves and follow Christ because he succeeded exactly where we fail.