#0113 ‘Man shall not live on bread alone’

Scripture relevant to today’s posting…

The Man of Lawlessness

2 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

2Thessilonians 2:1-4 (NIV)

Today’s posting is part 3 of a series titled: “Self-righteousness 2.0”. This series is based upon material to be included in my new book. As I am inspired to write this, I am posting these ideas on-the-fly, so they will be fleshed out and edited more before they get incorporated into the book. Today we consider the possibility that the Law of Moses was, itself is the seat of self-righteousness. We begin to look at the Jesus God, whom Jesus refers to as His Father. As we examine ever more closely the things is saying about His Father, they seem to less and less line up with the Mosaic Law’s rendition of God. By bringing out these differences in the two deities Jesus is framing the environments of righteousness on the one side and self-righteousness on the other.

BROAD STROKES: Many Christian denominations espouse the concept that Jesus came to the earth specifically to die for us, or rather for the sins of humanity. I believed in this concept for most of my life; but in retrospect I see it was because I had been indoctrinated through religious exposure to believe thus. When I started writing The Jesus Clone I gradually began to suspect that there was a much bigger and more fundamental purpose for His coming here and living among people. Today I am of the thinking that Jesus came most specifically to change the lens through which the Jewish people viewed the God they held in such high esteem from one of self-righteousness to one of righteousness. This was a herculean task for Him. It would have been all but impossible for any mortal prophet to achieve; it would take God’s Son to do it. So, in a way, Jesus did die—not for our inherent original sin—but because of the sinful condition brought about by the Law of Moses. Jesus went against the grain of self-righteousness as He attempted to override the Law of Moses and in so doing, release the Jewish nation from its grip. The prickly nature of self-righteousness has at its core the directive of self-preservation; in this, the imperative is to exist as a stand-alone authority and denounce, reject and cast aspersions upon any tenets or persons who would dare to contradict it. The reason the Pharisees turned on Jesus (and had Him eliminated) was they saw Him as a threat to both the letter, as well as the intent of the Mosaic Law. It was the Law, rather than the Pharisees (and Sadducees), that lay at the root of self-righteousness. As such the Law demanded a self-righteous response from all who were subjects to it and held within its auspices. Remember when Jesus was in the desert and tempted by Satan? All 3 were temptations were trying to pull Jesus towards self-righteousness.

 Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

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

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then 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.’”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, 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.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”+left him, and angels came and attended him.

Matt 4:1-11 (NIV)

Let’s examine these 3 temptation one-by-one to see if we can detect the self-righteous inherent within each.

1st Temptation

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus first request of the Father is this: Give us this day our daily bread. What’s the difference between these two ways of reaching the goal of achieving bread? Both ways would get the bread, wouldn’t they? The truth is, one method is self-righteous and the other is righteous in nature. When Jesus is asking the Father for bread, His approach and His attitude are genuinely righteous in that He leaves the means of acquiring the bread up to God—leaving all aspects of the blessing in the Father’s capable hands. He doesn’t feel the necessity to appease His Father in any way because Jesus comes to the prayer with full knowledge of His Father’s unconditional love. In a way His prayer for bread symbolizes the totality of humanity’s needs. It’s not just a supplication for daily sustenance, but the unapologetic acknowledgement of all human needs and desires. He counts Himself as one among millions of humans strapped with the unrelenting demands that come with surviving in the physical world. Jesus prays not from a position of privilege as someone deserving of this special and unique blessing; but from a position of deep desire. This desire is based in the knowledge that His Father is benevolent and gives freely to Himself in His human state and to any of His children and does so as a matter of course (not privilege) to all who ask of Him.

In the same way He knows there are similar challenges in trying to survive in the environment of temptation and sin. It’s from this perspective that Jesus tells the devil: “Man shall not live (survive) on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. Notice, Jesus says, ‘…on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Jesus is alluding to a condition where the WORD that comes from the mouth of God is readily available to men (humans) and is as easily accessible as the bread He’s asking for. This condition is evidenced in a righteous reality. Likewise in the Lord’s Prayer His request of the Father, “Forgive us our trespasses (sins)” and later He continues, “…but deliver us from evil” depicts this same righteous condition. 

If you have a question or a comment about this or other postings please feel free to send them in. As usual, thanks for reading.

TBC: Before December 01, 2016

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