Monday, September 19, 2016

Fresh Studies in Matthew - Matthew 4:1-10, Part 1

 This is a seminal passage in terms of doctrine and practice but does not tell of the only time Jesus was tempted.  There are many instances of temptations of Jesus in the gospel; this one and the Garden of Gethsemane are perhaps the most intense or dramatic from our perspective, but Jesus was tempted in more mundane ways “like as we are” probably every day. As, I believe C.S. Lewis said, he was tempted more than we because he knew sinlessness.  I find this passage raises as many questions as it answers; in fact, I am not sure it answers very many, and that is good.  We are too enamored of easy answers anyway. 
I used to believe and teach that Jesus could not have sinned, but I would not be so adamant now. It is at least up for debate, although I can’t get my head around a Jesus who would sin.  He wouldn’t, of course, but could he?  Hebrews seems to disagree with my former position; logically, it would not have been a real temptation if nothing was at stake.  He was led by the Spirit to the desert, and Jesus was a Trinity team player; did he make choices of his own?  Would that not have been sin?  So the temptation was not of God but allowed by him.  Again, this whole passage is riddled with mystery, the Trinity being one of the main ones (perhaps we should use the word “Godhead?”)
Numerically, there are three temptations after forty days.  Jesus’ answers to Satan are cryptic but Satan gets the point pretty clearly.  Full meanings: Bread is not the only thing or most important thing I need now; I am not here to dance to your tune or test the extent of the powers of incarnation, and as a man I worship only God; as a member of the Godhead I live in obedience to the Father.  There is a great deal more, of course, but I am focusing on fresh things for me.

No comments:

Public Speaking Online, Part IV

During the Web Speech             One of the helpful suggestions from the business writers used for this appendix ...