13 December 2009
Jesus is Tempted
For each piece of the good news of Jesus, there are countless teachers who have mined the various facets of the story. In this case, there is Henri Nouwen's In The Name of Jesus and a sermon by Michael Frost entitled "Soil or Dirt?" Here are just a few of my own reflections.
Just before Jesus starts his public ministry, the Spirit of God takes Jesus out to be tempted. That seems cruel until I consider that Jesus would have been and was tempted by the devil anyway. Jesus was about to embark on the most important mission in the history of the world. He had to be ready. When a runner trains for the marathon, they run to the point of exhaustion. When an athlete wants his muscles to be stronger, they lift heavy weights that place great strain on their muscles. Jesus, the Word that became flesh, was going into the biggest spiritual battle of all time. He had to be sure His spirit was ready for the ministry ahead.
What do we do to make our spirit stronger? What marks a strong spirit? According to what is recorded here, Jesus demonstrates that the strength of our spirit is directly related to the strength of our relationship to the Living God. Make no mistake. The greatest command is also the most important command.
In all three temptations, Jesus sees through the surface of the temptation to see what he is truly risking: the intimate relationship to His Father.
No Satan. I don't need to give in to my appetites. I trust that my Father will provide what I need.
No Satan. I don't need to seek fame in order make disciples. I trust that my Father will lead me step by step in the mission He has given to me.
No Satan. I don't need to gain any earthly power when I know that my Father has all the power that I will need.
When Satan left, the angels came to care for Him. Yeah, He's ready. Am I ready? How connected and confident am I in the King of kings?