Friday, August 8, 2008

spinning Christ's tempations III

...and refuses to indulge in spectacle to prove himself (which would subvert Gods natural system of being proven through trials and experience).
Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change, p. 139

And the verses...

Luke 4
4:9 And he led him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
4:10 for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, to guard thee:
4:11 and, On their hands they shall bear thee up, Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone.
4:12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.

As in the other two, there is no hint from the context of the verses of what McLaren is trying to make the verses say. From the nature of the temptation and Jesus' response, one may well see it as something similar to the first--a temptation to presumption, to act without the Father's approval.

Further, just as Jesus several times provided provisions in a manner "which would subvert God's natural system of gaining honor through humble service", at least to McLaren's mind, so too were many of His miracles very public and witnessed by many. He even saw them as being proofs of who He is, as for example here.

John 11
41.So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
42.I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
43.When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"
44.The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

And there are these words from Peter at Pentacost.

Acts 2
22."Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.

If the temptation was that if people were to see Jesus doing something miraculous then they would believe, His life showed otherwise. In fact, it was the very public raising of Lazarus from the dead that sparked this on the part of those who were against Him.

John 11
45.Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.
46.But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47.Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. "What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs.
48.If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."
49.Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all!
50.You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."
51.He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation,
52.and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
53.So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

Whether that was the nature of the temptation, though, is unclear. Nothing is said by either the devil or Jesus about people's reactions; rather, Jesus responds only to the temptation to act presumptuously, to simply do whatever or anything in the expectation that the Father will bail Him out.

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