Monday, December 8, 2008

Luke, Chapter 4 part 1

What is temptation to you? There are personal demons that everyone battles. In my life, there are three in particular that continue to plague me daily. It is easy to fall prey to temptation even when we are strong. Our own strength is never enough because we are not Christ. Lately I have fallen prey to some of my temptations, particularly those rooted in frustration and anger, because they are the easy way. I don't necessarily get what I want, but it is the easy way to give in and lash out at those around me because life seems directionless. Essentially, that is what temptation boils down to: What is the easy way?

The beginning of Luke, chapter 4, deals strongly with temptation. Before beginning His public ministry, Christ is tempted by Satan directly. It is hard to imagine the Son of God taking the easy way when, if you think about it, everything could be the Easy Way for Him. The easy way was not His mission though. It was not His choice to avoid the suffering and sacrifice He had to face on the Cross. As the Son of God, He didn't have to do it. He wanted to do it though, no matter how difficult it was. The Sacrifice, which was never easy, was necessary in order to provide reconciliation for all mankind to God. Simply put, the Easy Way was not going to cut it.

5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7So if you worship me, it will all be yours."

 8Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" – Luke 4:5-8

How could Satan give Jesus everything if He already had it? It is easy to see how a normal man would fall prey to this. Being given the entire world is a tempting offer. Jesus, however, knew the truth. The kingdoms of the world not only were already promised to Him eventually, but they weren't even in Satan's power to give. To me, if I were Jesus (and I know I am far from Jesus), this is the easiest temptation to resist of the three. Jesus knew patience was the key. He was going to win regardless, so why take the easy way?

The second part I wanted to discuss today was Jesus' rejection in His hometown. I love this because it speaks to my character. Jesus did not do what was expected of Him. He did not conform to other peoples ideals. I can relate to this, because I hate conforming. I hate going along with society on many things simply because that is what is expected. Some call it being difficult, but I prefer to think of it as unique. That is a strong part of Jesus' nature though. If you look closely at His ministry, he never makes it about Himself or about others. He is constantly at odds with those He comes in contact with. He directed the message and focus on God instead. In this, he specifically and boldly pointed out the truth without regard to what people thought He should do. Some, like those in Nazareth, rejected Him for it. Personally, I love him for it.

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