Jesus Tempted on the Cross…
While enduring the physical pain He felt on the cross, Jesus had to face temptation one last time:
Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him. -Mark 15:29-32, NAB
This was not the first time that Jesus faced temptation during a trial. In Matthew 4, we read about Jesus being tempted by the devil. Jesus was at the limits of what His body could handle, and the devil saw this as an opportune time to tempt Him. Now, as Christ stared death in the face, the devil used these people to tempt Him one last time.
Our greatest temptations often come during our times of greatest struggle. The devil knows when we are at our weakest, and he will often try to exploit it. It’s much easier to coerce somebody whose thoughts are more focused on their current difficulties. Of course, the devil sees this and takes advantage of the opportunity.
Jesus refused to give into temptation in the desert, and He chose not to save Himself from the cross. He endured these temptations so that He could be the Spotless Lamb needed to redeem the world, and also so that He could serve as an example for us to follow. Like Jesus, we are called to overcome temptation – even during our most difficult trials.
Do we face temptation the way Jesus did? At times, yes. Other times, we struggle to endure. When faced with difficult situations, we use our physical limitations as an excuse to give in. We let our weakness become our crutch. Instead of trying to grow stronger, we simply accept our weakness for what it is.
In one respect, we are sinners; there is no changing that. We will never fully resist temptation the way Jesus did. But that does not mean that we should not try. Let Jesus be your guide and follow His example in every choice you make. When you find yourself at your weakest, remember how Jesus was tempted on the cross. He overcame temptation that day, and so can you.