revtc

Trying to think about life and how God makes it full

The Wilderness, Part 2, Luke 4:1-13

Bread seems obvious in the context of human hunger. Nobody would be around to see Jesus eat some bread – he could easily cheat on his fast without anyone knowing. Or, even if he had decided to end his fast at that point, why not end it with some instant bread? Anyway, the devil wasn’t asking Jesus to worship him, just to feed himself.

But he wasn’t the only one who was hungry. Hunger and poverty were as rife then as now. And if Jesus could make stones into bread, couldn’t he then turn the whole wilderness into a huge bakery and feed all the poor and hungry with everlasting bread? Later on, he was to call himself ‘the bread of life’ after he fed the 5000 people from virtually nothing.

So, why not feed himself?

“If”, said the devil; so prove it!

Then the devil shows him all the kingdoms of the world and promises them to Jesus if he will only worship him. What a great temptation! Jesus could have control of the world and put it all to rights. No more ‘out-of-control’ world. He certainly would be ‘King of kings’.

It’s interesting how Jesus didn’t claim his status as Second Person of the Trinity just then. In effect, the devil, a creature, was asking Jesus as God the Creator, to worship him. The Creator worshiping the creature. Ridiculous really! So, did Jesus realise his divinity then, or not? Whatever he may have thought, his reply was to make it clear that he would serve God only.

And finally, the devil takes Jesus to the Temple itself, the very place of God’s dwelling among his people. “Show yourself at this place of God’s dwelling that you are in fact God incarnate by doing this trick of throwing yourself off the top, let’s watch the angels catch you, and everyone will follow you – if you are indeed the Son of God”.

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February 13, 2007 - Posted by | contemplative, god, jesus, liminality, religion

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