Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Real Temptaion of Jesus

yesterdays post brought up the topic of Jesus’ divinity and how the synoptic gospels seem to paint a different picture of who Jesus was (and even who Jesus claimed to be) than John’s gospel does.

I think many people assume that Jesus was fully God and that Jesus had access to all of his divine nature and knew exactly who He was and what his “purpose” on earth was.

In Matthew 4 we find a fairly familiar passage where Jesus is led into the desert (by the spirit) for forty days (Call back to the Exodus story?) in order for the Devil to tempt him. Jesus is fasting so he is in a weak state. (Because after all, he is human)

The Devil tries 3 different times to tempt Jesus. First, since Jesus was hungry, to turn stone to bread. Then to jump off the temple and then the Devil tries to persuade Jesus to worship Him in order to gain control of all the kingdoms in the world.

But is this what the temptations are really about? (The whole story seems to be a reflection of the Exodus story)

At the end of chapter 3, right before Jesus was led into the desert to face the temptations, Jesus is baptized by John. The text says that after Jesus came up out of the water (call back to the Red Sea?) God speaks from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.

Now back to the desert. Notice the Devil prefaces each temptation by saying, “If you are the Son of God.” So it seems, for Jesus, that the point of the temptations are less about bread, pride, and power and more about believing that what God had said about him was true.

We find at the end of the temptation the Devil leaves and the angels came to attend him. This shows that the temptation took a toll on Jesus and that it wasn’t something easy for him to endure.

So did Jesus struggle to believe and even doubt that He was the “Son of God?” Did Jesus have to have faith? (Faith being impossible without doubt)

Your thoughts?

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