#0115 Who else do we know is a tempter?
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 5 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 go into the book. Today we move on to the last of the three temptations Jesus endured in the desert at the beginning of his 3 years of ministry on the earth. Like the previous two temptations we see the essence of this temptation is to get Jesus sidetracked into adopting self-righteous methods in the delivery of His ministry. Today we also revisit the Lord’s Prayer and talk about the ties its message has with the bigger picture of Jesus’s next 3 years on earth and with the bigger-still-eternal picture of His Gospel.
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.’”
11 then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
By showing Jesus the kingdoms of the world filled with all of their riches, Satan wasn’t appealing to His personal greed; but rather he was bringing to Jesus’s attention that such wealth holds power and influence over humans. Satan intended to leave the rest up to Jesus’s imagination as to how He might use it to His advantage. This was yet another ploy to get Jesus to utilize self-righteous means in the process of building His Father’s Kingdom. Jesus was about to embark upon His 3-years of ministry in the world and the methodology He chose at the beginning would continue beyond His physical life and become the legacy He left to His disciples. Fast-forwarding to have a quick look at the Christian Church model of today which seems to embrace and profess opulence and miraculous displays of wonder to represent Jesus’s Father, we are left scratching our heads over how it came to be thus. Is the modern-day Christian model accurately publishing the Jesus God or is it doing the very same thing the Pharisees did and once again publishing the self-righteous God of the Old Testament?!
Let’s go back to the Lord’s Prayer for a minute. Have you ever wondered about a line in there that seems to suggest that God is a deity who would deliberately tempt people? …and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil…? I’ve heard different ministers come up with obscure and rather thin explanations about this line; most try to avoid the line altogether. I believe this short phrase communicates an extremely powerful concept, one that ties into our discussion here. Up to this point in the prayer, Jesus is voicing very wonderful aspects of His Father’s nature. They were wonderful, yes; additionally, before Jesus came to the earth these aspects didn’t seem to exist in His nature: Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. These words intimate a God whose nature is unconditionally loving—giving and forgiving with no strings attached. The Old Testament God’s nature brings a veritable bouquet of conditions with it—to the extent of 613 points of Law—this is the God the Jews were well familiar with. The Pharisees were promoting this God to the Jewish people because He’s the God the Law promoted; so they were just doing their job and doing it well. At the risk of sounding redundant I must say again; this Old Testament God was self-righteous. The God Jesus is referencing in the Lord’s Prayer is a righteous God. Back in the desert Satan was baiting Jesus to get into bed with that Old Testament God by getting Him to employ self-righteous methodologies.
The phrase: …lead us not into temptation was intended to help people differentiate between these two Gods. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, helps the pray-er to identify Jesus’s Father. Lead us not into temptation, helps the pray-er acknowledge that there is an imposter lurking about; an interloper God whom must consciously be recognized and disavowed. And now we know something about this interloper’s methods—he’s a tempter; who else do we know is a tempter?
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 January 31, 2017