Today was “Group Run Wednesday”! Rather than getting out and getting it done first thing in the morning (like I prefer to do), I waited until 6pm and joined the Wooster Running Group at Oak Hill Park. It was a chilly, windy night, but still a great night for a run.
Daily Run: I ran 6.32 miles in 46 minutes and 16 seconds, which is an average pace of 7:19 per mile. While I was running, my family walked around the park and got their own 5k in for the day. Next week I want to actually run with a group. Today I ran faster than I should have, so it was just two of us at the 7:19 pace. Next week I plan to find a group and just run whatever pace they are holding.
Daily Bible Reading: There is an extremely difficult saying in today’s reading. Well, actually, there are a lot of difficult sayings in today’s reading, but one verse, in particular, is standing out to me today.
“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!”Matthew 18:7, ESV
What insight can we glean from this passage? Three things stand out to me.
First, Jesus uses the word, “woe”. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! What does that word mean? In the Greek, the word is οὐαί, which is both an expression of grief and a pronouncement of judgement.
Grace and truth.
In declaring, “Woe to the world”, Jesus is simultaneously expressing his personal sadness over the state of the world and declaring judgement.
I think this matters because it helps us to have an accurate understanding of who Jesus is. He is the compassionate, sympathetic Savior, but He is also a truth teller who will not simply look the other way when He sees a problem. He will name the problem. He will face it. But He will face it with unwavering kindness and concrete conviction.
The second part of this passage helps us to understand the natural way of the world. It is necessary that temptations come. None of us are exempt. Temptations will come to everyone. They may be different for each person. What is a temptation for me may not be a temptation for you, but we will all face temptations. They are necessary.
Temptations reveal our true allegiance. They expose our deepest desires. Way back in Genesis, Adam and Eve were tempted by the forbidden fruit. That fruit, by the way, was described in the Bible as good for food, a delight to the eyes, and desired to make one wise. Their decision to eat the fruit revealed that their true allegiance was to themselves—not to God. Their decision to eat the fruit revealed that their deepest desire was to be independent from God, rather than dependent upon Him.
The sad irony, of course, is that they settled for food that was good, but only temporarily good, and not nearly as good as the food God would provide. They settled for food that was a delight to the eyes, but by giving in to the temptation they were no longer able to gaze upon the matchless beauty of God, Himself. They settled for food that made them wise, gaining the ability to distinguish good from evil, but wisdom is unnecessary when you are tethered to the One who is infinitely wise. Their “gain” was truly a loss. They had previously only known good. Having evil added to their knowledge was no gain at all.
It is necessary for temptation to come, but it is not necessary to fall into temptation’s snare.
The third takeaway from this passage is the negative position of the one through whom temptation comes. Going back to the Garden of Eden once more, we remember that the serpent was judged harshly for being the one who tempted Adam and Eve. The same is true today.
Yes, Jesus is a caring and compassionate King. Yes, it is necessary for temptations to come. But using the “wisdom” that Adam and Eve received through eating the forbidden fruit, we need to be actively engaged in discerning good from evil for ourselves and for others. It is right for us to do good for one another, but loving your neighbor as yourself also requires us to not lead others into temptation.