Blogging about the Sweetest Things in Life

Reflections on the extraordinary moments of an ordinary Mother.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What did Jesus See up there?

Yesterday I had originally planned on reflecting primarily on the third temptation that Satan presented to Jesus in the wilderness.  There were some interesting things I had thought about while pondering Sunday's sermon but instead I found myself on the wrong end of a poor, split second decision and decided I personally needed yesterday's message about taking the time to check my reactions before making bad choices.  So today we'll pick up where we left off yesterday.  Yesterday I talked about how Eve and Adam did not handle Satan's temptations well.  That's the understatement of the day I think.  There is a much better example of how to handle this in Matthew chapter 4 where we see how Satan tempts Jesus.

The first thing we notice is that Satan approaches Jesus in the same way he did Eve, without ostentatiousness.  Notice he waits until the end of the 40 days of fasting, when we could deduce Jesus' human body might be at it's weakest.  (Truly my patience grows razor thin when I am even an few hours over due for a meal.)   

We saw Satan skillfully use the suggestion of doubt and desire with Eve.  In that first temptation of Jesus, Satan ever still the cunning manipulator, introduces that same grain of doubt, that small little word, "If".  Matt. 4:3 "The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'”  How easy would it have been to say a word and feed your starving flesh.  After 40 days one could hardly call that the immediate gratification I discussed yesterday, yet Jesus points out that God's word is not meant to feed the flesh but to feed the soul.  He shows the epitome of faith right there.  The faith that the Israelites did not show while traveling through the desert, crying out that God was going to starve them in Exodus.

Satan doesn't relent though but tries another approach, again with that word "If."  This time we see him use the word of God but to twist it around in context, similar to what he did to Eve.  “'If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Again, we see him trying to stoke a shred of doubt.  Doubt in Jesus' own divinity, in his true identity, not through some supernatural forces, but by the slightest twisting of God's word.  Satan takes Psalm 91 out of context; away from the comfort of faith that it is written in, and tries to rationalize the testing of God with it.  He pulls on that human tendency for "proof".  Oh don't we live in an age full of proof?  We dismiss what we cannot prove, manufacture, or explain.   Jesus doesn't take the bait though, instead he uses God's Word right back at Satan.   "Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’"   He knows God's word, inside outside and upside down, so he sees right through the twisting of context.  This is worth noting with a great big giant red circle for me and is why we (me, I'm yelling at myself again here) must be diligent in studying God's word.  I don't know about you, but I have a long way to go before I know it inside, let alone outside and upside down.  

Yet again, Satan does not relent but takes a third approach.  This time we see him trying to stoke the the desire for wealth and power that has been the downfall of so very many people, even those of great talent and willpower.  It's in this third temptation, the offering of all the riches and power and Earthly glory for the one simple act of bowing to Satan.  It is picturing that mountaintop that I had a major realization, for me at least.  When Satan stood upon that mountain showing Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in all their splendor, he was looking at it from his perspective and I venture to guess he thought Jesus would see it through the ordinary human perspective.  Most people would look upon "the splendor", the power and the wealth that could be theirs.  Power corrupts to be sure but even those with a very good heart may think to themselves, "think of all the good I could do with that!" 

What I realized Sunday is that isn't the perspective Jesus had at all!  When he looked upon the world, don't you think he saw the vast masses of sinners?  Don't you think he saw each and every person who would die for their very sinful nature, not one righteous person among them?  Could standing there looking over our fallen world, the world that was designed in perfection but doomed in sin, have actually been a reinforcement of his purpose on this Earth, in his human flesh? That if he did not live the life of perfection that we could not, in our place as our substitute we would never have everlasting life?   He was there, after all, in the Word when our heavenly Father created that world of perfection, the same world that lay at the foot of that mountain broken and destitute.  I'm not sure Satan was counting on our human Jesus seeing a broken world needing a Savior more then anything.

I can't say for certain because the Bible does not tell us what Jesus was thinking.    I suppose I will have to ask him about it over dinner some day. All we do know is that Jesus commanded Satan to leave and once again quoted God's Word,  “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’"

So where Adam and Eve failed their very first temptation miserably, Jesus resisted each of three.  How did he do it and what can we learn?  He did it by putting his trust and faith in God above all else and he did it by using God's Word.  Eve knew what God had commanded, yet she barely gave consideration to God's will, let alone to showing her faith and trust in him.  Jesus on the other hand did just that, not once but three times.  How grateful should we be that he was willing to do this much and so much more for this broken world of sinners.

No comments:

Post a Comment