Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Two Faces Of Temptation

One wrong thing after another comes at us at times. We are like Jesus led into the wilderness. We hear, 'If you are...', then we say, 'God says...' and put the thought aside or cast it down.

God has a shining brightness and we pass through dark thinking as if it is a cold cloud that will dissolve like an illusion to get to that bright warmth.

In Matthew chapter 4 and Luke chapter 4 Jesus passes through three temptations. The temptations are listed in a different order in those two books but the both indicate the same locations.

"And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." - Luke 4:3-4 KJV

This temptation is listed first in both gospels and takes place as wherever Jesus was at the time. He is not transported for it.

"And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." - Luke 4:5-8 KJV

In Matthew this is listed last and angels come to minister to Jesus (see Matthew 4:11) but notice where Jesus is. He is taken to a mountain..

"And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." - Luke 4:9-12 KJV

This temptation is listed second in Matthew and is at the pinnacle of the temple.

Each Gospel is different. They are written to address four minds or mindsets. We see foreshadows of them in the Hebrew scriptures.

"And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness... As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies." - Ezekiel 1:5, 10-11 ESV

Matthew is the Lion. Mark is the Ox. Luke has the face of a man. John is the Eagle.

Matthew addresses the Hebrew mind and focuses on what Jesus said. Mark shows Roman action. Luke meets the thinking mind of the Greek. John gives God's mind as seen from above.

To the Hebrew, or religious, mind the temple comes right after your need for bread and the wonders of creation and civilization come last. But to a Greek thinker the pinnacle of the temple is last.

The temptations even end differently. Here is what God says to the religious mind.

"Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." - Matthew 4:11 KJV

Now what He says to the Greek rational mind.

"And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about." - Luke 4:13-14 KJV

We worship God alone on the mountaintop and we refuse to cast ourselves from the pinnacle of the temple. We live on more than bread alone. Angels minister to us. Theory becomes power. Our resistance born of facing God and focusing on Him and His word translates from a solitary life of faith to a ministry in Galilee and the regions beyond.

Dispel the accusations. They are only smoke.

We are not what we see. We are who God has made us to be. We can be honest about what we have done and move on because of what God has done. God has a perfectly fitted answer for every mindset. We live in those answers by faith.

We live in Jesus, who is the answer, accepted just as we are forever.


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