Getting to Know Jesus The Temptation – Lesson Two

getting-to-know-jesusScripture tells us that the Spirit led Jesus into the Wilderness. This was a A foreboding scary world.  A region without fresh water and life-giving plants. The monotony of this barren desert is broken only by more rocky hills and dark caves. It’s a world fit only for wild animals, rodents, serpents, and insects. Unbearably hot days. Unbelievably cold nights. A place of incredible loneliness.

Here, Jesus has no support, no family, no disciples, no food… nothing but His memory of His Father and His voice of approval. It was into such a wilderness that Jesus was led for a six-week, forty-day crash course in human suffering. It was here that He was tempted by Satan… and we a not immune to the same ordeal of temptation.

Paul has a five letter word that describes our weakness, our limitation… F-L-E-S-H!! You see, as long as we are housed in this human body, our fleshly desires tug at us. No, these desires are not wrong, but they are used by Satan to tempt us to live outside the boundaries God has placed upon them and their use.

Getting to Know Jesus – The Pre-existing Jesus

 

Getting to Know Jesus
Getting to Know Jesus

The beginning of Jesus and His story takes us beyond our world of time and space to the wonder and sweep of the ONE WHO INHABITS ETERNITY. Here, we are brought to the SOURCE of all things… to the origin of the universe. We must know that Jesus was not the beginning… He was IN THE BEGINNING

 Application thought here — There is no way for us to plumb the depths of this truth, but it is true. And even though we can’t get our mind around it, we must accept this faith fact that our God is ONE… and He is eternally self-existent. This fact should impact our life by giving us Comfort… Confidence… and Faith in Him!

A Common Heritage With Judas?

Judas Iscariot is seen as the ultimate betrayer, his role in the death of Jesus is one that many try to avoid.There is a reason we are hard on Judas, It is because we see so much of ourselves in him — the times we want to do things right but don’t; the times we want to be faithful but aren’t. This is who we are. The idea that people see so much of themselves in Judas, such a hated character, is one of the reasons they react so violently to his role in the story. Judas was one of Jesus’ 12 apostles and the one who identified him to soldiers with a kiss in exchange for 30 pieces of silver, according to the New Testament. Jesus was then turned over to Pontius Pilate and later crucified.

We don’t like him and can’t imagine how anyone could do what he did. But in our own much simpler, smaller ways we all do that every day.

The story is a call to faithfulness, genuine life. Judas’ role in the story is one that is current and still teaches valuable lessons, including one of accountability..

The story of Judas reminds us to look at ourselves and ask how have we been a friend or not been a friend? Maybe we have been betrayed by a friend. How do we extend forgiveness to that person? Jesus did not exclude Judas from the table even though he knew in advance that Judas would be the one to turn him over to the authorities. It was Judas himself who excluded himself from the table.”

People tend to see themselves as either the victim or the hero in a story, not as the villain.

“It is important that we see that side of ourselves, see us as the betrayer,” she said. “It helps us to be a little more honest.”

Judas wasn’t the only betrayer at the Last Supper; each of the 12 disciples would abandon or betray Jesus, according to the New Testament. Peter denied being with Jesus three times soon after the disciple assured Jesus he would never deny him.

The concepts of betrayal and redemption go hand-in-hand. .

The story of Judas really points out how transformation must occur in all of our lives.

It was very hard for Judas, even though he was transformed. It is important that he knew his own sin and sought forgiveness from a loving, graceful and merciful God. He also went out and wept. Judas betrayed the Lord with a kiss, but also threw the coins back. There is transformation going on in his life.”

The spirit of Resurrection is transformation,  stressing this concept is “key in all of our lives.”

Are we open to a change of heart? All of us sin, and all of us are in need of forgiveness.

The Resurrection’s emphasis the transformative power of the Lord.

That power is available to change the lives of people and the community they live in for the better.

The key to Judas’ betrayal isn’t the role Judas himself played; instead, it is Jesus’ reaction to that betrayal.

Jesus doesn’t lose sight of his mission for salvation, even with betrayal by those inside his circle. He keeps his focus on redemption. We as human beings must not lose our focus on making the world a better place just because of those who may betray us. We can’t get caught up in things. Those 30 pieces of silver Judas took, they remind us that the great works we are called to do should not be corrupted by a desire to have the monies or wealth of the world.

 

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely

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Sir John Dalberg-Acton once said:

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power
corrupts absolutely.”
No where is this truism more prevalent than in the world of Christendom. Even in our fellowship there are those who continuously wave the banner of “authority” before church members and demand that “underlings” give their total commitment to their understanding of the Scriptures.

The idea of one Christian having “authority”
over another is not a new concept – even though un-Biblical.. Surely we can find those in the New Testament who even challenged Paul’s understanding of spiritual matters. The problem has continued through the centuries and even now there are those who demand total submission to some so-called “authoratative position” they hold in some sort of pseudo-church heirarchy; or even, perhaps, their ego-driven understanding of “doctrine.”

Those leaders of our restoration heritage brought a lot of baggage with them when they determine to “speak where the Bible speaks … etc.” However, their cry for unity became overshadowed by
self-admiration and swallowed up by the montrous hydra of authority.
The early disciple continuously had a problem with
being first and most important in the kingdom of God. On one occasion, Jesus used just four words to destroy the concept of one disciple dominating another in any manner: “Not so with you.”
Perhaps it would be wise to go back to the basics
and read Matthew 20:25-28:
“25 Jesus called them together and said, “You
know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever
wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The neglect of (and out-right disobedience to) the
Lord’s directive has been the root of all the ills in the church today. If one does not like another’s interpretation of scripture he climbs upon his chair of jurisdiction and proclaims those he looks down upon to be either liberal or conservative – traditional or progressive.
He castigates, scolds, and reprimands with all the
“Holy verbiage” he can muster, for the sake of winning disciple to his position. “Love” is thrown out and “power” dominates his ego – he must be first. Oh, yes, he will lay claim to the cliché, “We
must stand for the truth.” If the truth be know, the reality is that he cannot handle the truth. For truth, strips him of his power and he becomes naked and alone – standing in violation of the Lord’s command to all his disciples, “Not so with you.”