Lenten Reflections 2012: Retreating into the wildernss with Jesus, Day 18

English: The Temptation of Jesus on the Mountain

Second temptation of Christ

Day 18, Tuesday, March 13, 2012

 For the second temptation of Jesus see Matthew 4:5-6 and Luke 4: 9-12. When the devil could not get Jesus to do that was not in God’s will, he took him to the city of Jerusalem. Now the order of these temptations differs in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, but it’s of no particular significance. Each gospel writer has arranged the same material in a slightly different order to suite his purpose and audience. In what the devil thought was a better idea than the previous one; he took Jesus to the highest point of the magnificent temple of Jerusalem, and asked him to throw himself down. Interestingly, the devil himself cites the scriptures this time from Psalm 91:11-12: “For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Satan proposed that if the angels really came down to protect him from being striking against stones, he, along with many Israelites will be convinced of His divinity and start following Him. Sounds really like a neat plan until we understand what is actually in the devil’s heart.

 You see, the devil also knows the Word of God and he’s the master of deception and disguise. He uses, twists, and misinterprets the Word of God using it out of context, according to his evil purposes, and in opposition to the will of God. Since Jesus knew the scriptures better along with their original context and intent, he fought back with the same but powerful “it is written” statement in front of which Satan could not stand (see Deuteronomy 6:16). However, Satan has not relented in using this trick on Jesus’ disciples, as even today he leads many astray by misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Word of God. If the devil comes in the form of a person who seems to know the scriptures well come along and prompts us to do something ridiculous, we all need to go back to the Bible and examine it carefully in its proper context. A lot of errors in churches today could be avoided if believers were diligent in studying and obeying God’s Word. One of such errors in the church today is going after the physical healings and miracles sans spirituality. In fact, a few preachers teach people to ask for the miraculous thus leading them to test God. Yes, miracles do happen to the believing and yes Jesus is still alive to do them. But only a faith that is weak seeks a sign and/or the miraculous intervention to believe in God and in His almighty power. Jesus told Satan, however, that His faith in God’s power is unwavering and He doesn’t need to seek or show any extraordinary miracle to prove God’s power and presence with Him. May we continue to fight the natural urge to go after signs and miracles; rather let us learn to trust in Him even when God appears to be invisible and silent. Amen.

 

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