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.