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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Knowing Jesus, Part 2


Thanks to all who posted comments. There is some comfort to know that others share the fears, worries, and doubts. In thinking more about Jesus being baptized by John, I thought again about how aghast John was at the thought of baptizing the Lord of Lords. It struck me that, in addition to fulfilling prophecy, Jesus was really humbling himself. Right there at the start of his ministry on earth, Jesus let this dirty, sweating, sinful, locust-eating wild man baptize the perfect One of God. It’s kind of poetic that Jesus began and ended His earthly ministry by humbling himself at the hands of mankind. So, from this, I learn that Jesus, like the Father, has no interest in forcing us to love Him. Jesus is willing to go to all lengths, diminishing himself to serve mankind, to show His love by serving. How often I underestimate God’s love for us. I still can’t really feel it like a hug or a pat on the shoulder, but something stirs in my gut at the thought of Jesus humbling himself for mankind.

On to the next meeting with Jesus:

Matthew 4 (New International Version)

The Temptation of Jesus
1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. 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.'[b]"

7Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

10Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Mannn, how many times have I read or heard this passage. I’m struggling to keep preconceived notions out of my head—Jesus fought the devil with God’s word, so therefore we Christians ought to memorize the Word to use it against the enemy. That’s true—and very important, right?

But Lord, what can I learn about you personally from this? Okay, you fasted for 40 days and nights. You have to be sold out, dedicated to even attempt something like that. How’d you do that anyway? You had to have water and something to eat or you’d have died. But still, it was a fast, so you had to deny yourself most everything. Why? Why do that? I can’t remember Jesus fasting anywhere else in scripture. The only thing I can think of is that you wanted to weaken your flesh…you wanted to make yourself vulnerable. You knew the Devil was coming, and you wanted the flesh to be nearly spent. Was this your way of showing us how important it is for us to come to the end of ourselves? It’s almost like you’re saying, “I just about killed myself, but I didn’t give in to the enemy.”

And how did He resist? Scripture—the Spirit. He didn’t try to solve the problem through his humanity. He didn’t try to climb down on His own. He didn’t negotiate. He didn’t give in. He spent all of his humanity so that He could rely on God and Him alone. So from this, I realize that Jesus is brave and kind of relentless. I also learn that you are superior to the devil in every way.


Anonymous said...

Your point about John baptizing Jesus is sooo true. I never looked at it that way.

ElizabethMarieKauffman said...

Wow! I never thought of it like that. . . . That is very interesting.


everlastingscribe said...

One of the theologians from the Deeper Connections series my family is doing at home, pointed out that Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years, faced temptations, then crossed over the Jordan and failed to take the Promised Land as the Lord told them to do.

Jesus wandered and fasted in the desert for 40 days, faced temptations, crossed the Jordan AND WAS VICTORIOUS.

The Second Adam stood, where the sons and daughters of the first Adam fell.

I think that the theologian was onto something. I think that Christ might have been identifying with us all, moving through what we moved through (prophetically) and serving notice to our Enemy, that no longer would fallen man be under his domain. The King of Glory's Rescue Mission was moving to completion!

Galactic Overlord-In-Chief said...

Also, this passage shows that Jesus is incapable of being fooled or deceived by those who misuse the Word. Satan will often use Scripture, twist it or distort it in such a way as to deceive people into doing wrong. But Jesus could never be fooled, tricked, or misled. I think that future passages also show that no wicked person could ever trick Jesus into doing something wrong, because he knows his word front and back, in ways that no human being could.

- Jason

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder not to rely on myself to get through today. There is no possible way I could do it on my own.
Not us but Christ!!
In His-Story,

Peter Stone said...

Great post!
Jesus came to destroy Satan's hold on the world, so He had to undo the damage that Adam did.
Let's look at Adam. Created as a fully grown, sentient adult. He saw God and walked with Him in the cool of the day. Yet one temptation, and down he went.
Now along comes Jesus, the 'Second Adam,' and just to prove that He is perfect and sinless, He goes and puts Himself at a huge disadvantage compared to Adam. He arrived in the world as any normal human, yet by choice He never sinned. Not ever!
Then after His baptism He fasted 40 days, drinking only water no doubt. (I've seen this done, by the way, and it's very dangerous.) So Jesus was physically weak, really weak.
Along comes Satan, trying to do the same trick as on Adam. Tempts all the same things, pride of life, lust of the flesh, etc, yet Jesus resists the temptation to sin and drives away Satan using God's Word.
Loved your point about using God's Word to, it is important, so let's use it.
God bless

James Somers said...

Wayne--I love to see God doing similar things, giving similar understanding to his saints at the same times...I had just recently preached on this very subject from the same passage of scripture and one of the things that had struck me (also) when I studied it, was that Jesus had been without, at least, food for 40 days...but it would have been impossible for him, as God, to die without actually giving his life. (I have the "power" to lay down my life and the power to take it up again).
But as you mentioned, that length of time would have placed him in wretched physical condition. No wonder Satan used food as the first temptation, but Jesus denied the flesh to do the will of the Father. Some wonder, what would be wrong with simply using his omnipotent power to make stones into bread? The answer is that Jesus came only to do the will of the Father. It was not the Father's will for him to do so and that is what Satan hoped to his terrible physical need to exercise His own will apart from what the Father had sent Him to do. The same goes for you and I. WE must do the FAther's will and not our own...Jesus gave us the supreme example as he denied the flesh's desire not to endure the suffering he would face in the scourging, trials, mockery and crucifixtion. He prayed, Father if it be possible, but He nevertheless knew it had to be and had come for that purpose, according to the Father's will, and denied the flesh in order to pay for our sins...PRAISE OUR WONDERFUL SAVIOUR, who always denied himself to do the will of the Father...may we all, as believers, do the same to His eternal glory!!