Like I said yesterday, I like Russell Moore. I liked him when I heard him speak at Criswell College some years ago. And I’ve followed his blog for some time now. I just finished reading his latest book, Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ, and I am absolutely blown away.
In this book, Moore takes on the difficult, yet necessary, task of explaining what exactly happened when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. And the depths to which he correlates the temptations and trials of Jesus to the Old Testament struggles which Adam and the nation of Israel experienced and to our present day battles are absolutely astonishing. While I’ve learned over the years, mostly the hard way, that many of our struggles come from issues with identity, protection, provision, etc., I had no idea that Jesus went through all of that in those three temptations. I’ve often been told that one of the keys to combating spiritual struggles is to understand the “schemes” of the Devil, and Moore has done an excellent job exposing those schemes for what they are by identifying the root cause of our struggles to embrace our identity, protection, and provision in Christ completely. This is the first book I’ve read of Moore’s, and if I had to compare it to other authors, it would definitely be the solid Theology I’ve experienced from authors like John Piper, and the C.S. Lewis-type prose keep me in the story, wanting to know what’s next, even though I’m already familiar with the Scriptures he discusses.
That corpse of Jesus just lay there in the silences of that cave. By all appearances it had been tested and tried, and found wanting. If you’d been there to pull open his bruised eyelids, matted together with mottled blood, you would have looked into blank holes. If you’d lifted his arm, you would have felt no resistance. You would have heard only the thud as it hit the table when you let it go. You might have walked away from that morbid scene muttering to yourself, “The wages of sin is death.”
But sometime before dawn on a Sunday morning, a spike-torn hand twitched. A blood-crusted eyelid opened. The breath of God came blowing into that cave, and a new creation flashed into reality….
Exposing the nature of our temptations and trials has helped me to gain perspective on how to examine my own life, and see clearly in areas where I was previously blinded. Of course, it has made me a bit crazy, seeing myself constantly wanting to stray off course, constantly fighting in areas in which I was ignorant before. But for that I am very grateful, because you can’t fight what you can’t see, and you can’t run from what you don’t see coming.
It’s rare that I feel comfortable recommending a book without reservation, but Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ is definitely a book that I can wholeheartedly recommend.