Temptation Rethought (Luke 4:1-13)

Posted: September 22, 2011 by Ty in Spirituality
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The Gospel of Luke is an intriguing political statement (taken of course from the concept that Gospels were political edicts from the office of Emperor).  There is a new way to look at the Temptation in the wilderness.

See the wilderness story is to bring the hearer back to the story of the Exodus, the wanderings for 40 years in the wilderness, the times of scarcity of resources, and most importantly the removal of civilization from  and all its trappings from the people so it was only you and God. This is what the hearer would recollect in these 40 days, for the modern hearer what would equate to a fast that would truly renew our relationship with God and remind us of wilderness wanderings? Truly a vacation from work where we unplug from the office, the fast from busyness.

This then enters into specific temptations that when looked as poetic devices reveal a deeper telling.

At the moment of being parched and hungry, when in the Exodus the people whined to go back to Egypt (their challenge of faith), Satan (the Adversary, the Temptor, Lucifer, The Devil) the fallen angel who works for God/was created by God, not as we like to believe God’s equal in godhood…comes upon Jesus in the wilderness and lays out the temptations.

The first being to turn stones to bread. What is in this challenge? You are hungry Jesus, take the easy way out. Use the power you have, you are more important than even the Emperor of Earth, use that power and do what is right within you power, never asking why or should I, just be black and white in your logic.

Jesus answer is simple, he reminds himself, the hearer and the Devil (much like Job in the Book of Job) that there is more to life than material fulfillment and true contentment does not come from bread, the true meaning of Manna from Heaven is revealed as the Christ within.

The next time Devil takes Jesus up to the highest point to look at the collective Kingdoms of the World. The short line from A to B, and the wrong line. For the hearer a proposal reminiscient in the Garden of the Serpent to Eve, “Did God really say…”  What Devil presents is the false argument of power…Worship me Jesus and all of this will be yours.

But Jesus is an astute one and remembers the story of humanity leaving the Garden in their original blessing. Clothed by God, warned o real life, and then given the world–dominion (authority/care) so why would Jesus need to worship the Devil to gain what God had already given? He wouldn’t and he responds with Love God with your everything, the first part of the Shema. The answer is to direct them to the breath of life and the promise held within that.

The final temptation of this round. The Shrewd snake comes back with a practice the righteous used then and today, the ability to use the name of God in Vein, misquote scripture to shatter the hope someone carries within them, to have them not acknowledge the Spirit within and the hope within and to make irrational choices of death.

As Devil asks Jesus to throw himself down for the angels will save him. Jesus response is simple, do not test God. Simple? Percisely, why do we play parlour games with faith, if you do this then I will believe, rather than just look at inherent created nature.

The story ends stating that Devil will be back again. Some historians have said this happend when Christ was on the cross or in Gethsemane, I challenge that. I think it happened each time Jesus was rejected, cursed, spat on, beaten, with each healing, miracle, when Judas sold him out, each time he prayed, and every breath he took. For you see in those moments-each life moment we have choices to make in our eternal struggle of God/Devil and who we elect to serve, true love or false power. And with each thing that happens to us, our choice is how to respond. That is the key of the story, that it is not events when challenges confront our beliefs, but when we live our lives authentically.


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