Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Temptation of Jesus

The Temptation Of Jesus.
    “Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.”  Mark 1:12-13
    “Jesus has to get into the desert alone and is there for forty days. No food, no home comforts, just Satan needling away at Him, offering Him the easy life of power and fame on his terms. Jesus swats him off with quotations from the Ancient Manuals. Heaven’s a bit low on angel numbers; most of them seem to be in the desert backing Jesus up.”  Lacey.  Matt. 4:1-11
    1. This is real
    “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”  2 John 1:7
    v 7 many deceivers have gone out into the world: Docetists were denying that Jesus Christ came in a real body. John refuted this heresy in his first letter (see 1 Jn 4:2-3). • Jesus Christ came: Or Jesus Christ will come. • A false teacher is a deceiver, because he misleads unwary believers, and an antichrist, because he distracts and leads people away from the true Christ. By using the apocalyptic symbol of the antichrist, John signals the severity of the heresy and the ultimate judgment upon false teachers.” —NLT Study Bible
    Jesus goes out into the desert, the place of danger and silence, to confront Satan, the personification of evil, of rebellion against God.  The temptations are iconic, are radically human after-the-Fall, and we know this is true because we are human.  We are men and women who live in this world after the Fall, the world of temptation and sin. But there are dangers in contemplating this icon of the temptation of Christ.  The first danger is that we can put this icon and this reading on a beautiful religious shelf and make it part of a religious world that has nothing to do with the real world in which we live.  Then our religion is reduced to a sentimental longing for what we think is real, for what will satisfy us, for what will satisfy our particular longings. 
    2. Satan tempts us to refuse God.  But the second danger is to annul that bond of humanity that binds us to the person of Jesus Christ.  Because the temptations of Christ have ultimate meaning only if they are real temptations that have something basic and real with respect to our own temptations.  In other words, the temptations of Christ are real and not a mere acting out of something that transcends our reality.  What Christ confronted in that desert was not a mere acting out of something humanly inevitable. It was a real human temptation to refuse to do the will of God.  If this is not true, then we are not saved, for if Christ is not man as we are men, except for sin, then we hope in vain, our faith is in vain, for if His temptations are not real, if He did not have the freedom to say no to the demands of His body, to grasp human power, and to make Himself a “worldly god” [and so bypass the Cross], then the icon is just a painting that should be hung in a gallery of religious history.  What is at stake here is Christ’s real humanity, the humanity that He shares with us.  For if He is not fully human then He could not save us.  If he is not truly God He cannot save us.  Christ Jesus is the Human One, Emmanuel – God With Us.
    3. Throne of Grace
    “Christ, enthroned at the right hand of the Father, sits on a throne of grace rather than of judgment, granting mercy and grace to help in time of need.  Christ’s empathy with sinners rests on His being tempted in every way we are.  He has accomplished and fulfilled the sacrificial offering.”  Wallerstedt
    “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Heb 4:14-16
    “This verse effectively summarizes the whole message and challenge of Hebrews; the high priesthood of Jesus the Son of God is the basis for endurance in the Christian faith. • a great High Priest: Israel's high priest was the main leader in the worship of God and the primary mediator between God and the people (see Exod 31:10; Lev 4:3; 2 Kgs 12:10; 2 Chr 26:20). • who has entered heaven: The earthly high priests entered God's presence in the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:1-25). By contrast, Jesus, our High Priest, has entered God's presence in heaven, and there he remains (7:26; 9:11-12, 23-26). • let us hold firmly: An enduring commitment to active belief in and allegiance to Jesus (see also Col 2:19; 2 Thes 2:15; Rev 2:13, 25; 3:11).
4:15 Our High Priest understands our weaknesses, our human pull toward sin, because he faced all of the same testings we do. He was tempted with all the essential aspects of sin, such as lust, greed, unforgiveness, and dishonesty. This makes him compassionate as our High Priest (5:2). • yet he did not sin: Jesus is unlike the earthly high priests, who had to make offerings for their own sins before they could make offerings for the people (5:3; 7:26-28; see also 1 Pet 2:22-23). —NLT Study Bible
    “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.  He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.”  Eph 1:3-8 (NLT)