This Sunday we’ll be looking at Luke’s account of the temptation of Jesus. We’ll be reading Luke 4:1-13. This entire account is rife with symbolism, much of it acting as a hyper-link back to the Old Testament. Remember how we said that the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) basically tell one story over and over? Well, this is the core of it. A human is called to image God into creation, like Adam and Eve were intended to do – but there is a test to determine if they’ll stay true to that calling. Adam and Eve did not, and the result is the world we live in today.
Over and over that pattern is repeated – from Abraham to Moses to Israel to her kings – and each time the choice is made to order things around human wisdom instead of God’s. It all culminates with Israel sent into exile, without form and void.
The Good News is introduced into that repeated pattern – the Son of Man is identified and goes into the wilderness, ready to image God into the world, and he is tested. It is here that the pattern breaks.
Jesus is tempted with three different suggestions from the satan. One thing I won’t be able to get into on Sunday is how each environment correlates with agencies of influence in Jesus’ day. The wilderness was the place of the Zealots and Sicarii who hoped to gain power through an insurrection of outliers. The kingdoms were the realm of the Herodians, who looked to leverage politics to gain power. Then there was the temple, where Israel’s spiritual leaders grasped for power through religion. I find it intriguing that Jesus is arrayed opposite of all of these.
Jesus overcame these three particular temptations. What do you notice about how he did that. To what did he appeal in response to the suggestions? At one point, the satan quotes Scripture. What does that tell us about how Scripture can be used? How can we discern the proper use of Scripture?
I hope you can join us this Sunday – in person (wearing a mask) or online via Facebook or YouTube at 10 AM.