Luke 4: 1-15
Ephesians 5: 25-33
The Lord Jesus Christ after His baptism spent forty days in the wilderness, “tempted by the devil.” The devil tried to give Him three pieces of advice. We will not be getting into the essence of these today. Instead, let’s pay attention to one detail, i. e. the one word that the Lord said before each answer. He said, “It is written” or “it says.” God Himself, by whose Spirit the Holy Scriptures were given to us through the prophets, confirms the eternal significance of this Scripture for the successful struggle with the devil.
The devil knows this power, and sometimes even tries to use it in order to destroy a person with more certainty. Inviting Jesus to throw himself off the roof of the temple, he refers to the psalm 91, “… For it is written: He will command His angels concerning You to keep You; and they will carry you in their hands, lest you stumble on a stone with your foot.” But the Lord answers this crafty “expert” on Scripture, “It says, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” God, if need be, will not let His chosen one stumble; but deliberately rushing from a height only to test the faithfulness of God’s word, is unacceptable. The devil has nothing to answer to all these “it is written” and “it says” and flies off like a streak. The Lord by His answers shows what our strength against the devil and his tempting and crafty offers really is. We must always have a word from Scripture ready for all occasions. “It is written” is the final authority and the highest instance.
Let us also note that the Lord does not say, “It is written to you.” All His answers mean “It is written to Me, as the only reader; and I have to do this, regardless of whether others are doing what is written to them” … Let us use the relationship of a husband and wife as an example. It is written to the wife, “Wives, obey your husbands as to the Lord. Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church, and He is the Saviour of the body.” (Eph. 5: 22-23) Yet the husband is commanded something even more difficult, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her … In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church” Therefore, no matter how much the devil may be tempting the wife convincing her that her husband is wrong and she needs to do everything her own way, the wife must say, “It is written,” obey your husbands as to the Lord. “Give in for Christ’s sake. God will see your desire to fulfil the commandment, and you will not be disgraced. And even if your obedience results in some failure in daily affairs, still say, “thank God, I have done my most important work, I have fulfilled the commandment, and whether success or failure – everything is from the Lord!”
And when the devil instructs a husband to demand obedience from his wife by force, the husband must answer, “It is written, “love your wives as your own bodies.” If the leg is stuck, you do not beat it or try to tear it off, but on the contrary, you stop and free it so as not to cause pain. Similarly, you do not cut off the sick hand, but care even more about it. There is no need to remind each other of duties instead of helping each other fulfil them. The wife must help her husband fulfil what is commanded to him and really see in her his own flesh that follows him as the thread follows the needle. The husband on the other hand must help his wife see that he really is head of the family and treats her pain equally to his own. He needs to make it show that he really loves his wife, as Christ loves the Church, being ready to be crucified for her and for her sake to crucify his ego.
And yes, “this is a great mystery.” But the key to it is always in your hands: in any circumstances do what the Lord has prescribed for you, and He Himself will do the rest.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds