Wednesday, March 02, 2005
The Temptation of Christ
I was reading in Matthew 4 today. This is the chapter with the story of the Temptation of Jesus. Satan tempted Jesus in 3 ways. First, he tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus was hungry. He had fasted for 40 days. Yet apparently his fast was not over, and the temptation was to put body ahead of spirit. Had Jesus felt his fast was over, it would have been A-OK to turn the stones into bread. But spirit takes priority over body. Don't rush to fulfill the needs of the body at the expense of your soul. Second, Satan took Jesus to the top of the tower of the Temple in Jerusalem and challenged him to jump off. God would intervene and save Jesus and then Jesus' identity as the Son of God would be cemented: to himself and to all in Jerusalem. The temptation here is about identity and how you find it. God had already spoken at Jesus' baptism: "This is my Son...". Do we identify with the self-giving love of God? Or are we in a desperate struggle to chisel out our identity for ourselves? Are we willing to lose ourselves in Jesus and his cause? The final temptation was to receive all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for worshipping Satan. Power always has a price. Remember that. Serve or be served? Which would you choose? Would you even consider that a choice? Jesus did. He chose to serve...to give his life as a ransom. What place do we choose? What place will our current path in life take us? Are we heading to a place of serving or to a place of power? Of these 3 temptations, which speaks most closely to your situation?