They are my temptations too..
As I mentioned yesterday, I have been really enjoying “the Jesus way” by Eugene Peterson.
I spoke in church this morning using some insights from the book I found helpful about the three temptations of Jesus.
Hebrews 4:15 says:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
I had never before made the connection with Jesus’s temptations in the desert and temptations that I face, but Peterson helped me see the connection.
The first temptation of Jesus was to turn stones to bread to meet his own needs. Peterson says:
The devil wants us to do the same: follow Jesus but then use Jesus to fulfill needs, first our own and then the needs of all the hungry people around us. It is the temptation to deal with myself and others first and foremost as consumers. It is the temptation to define life in consumer terms and then devise plans and programs to accomplish them “in Jesus’ name.”
……the temptation is to reduce people, ourselves and others, to self-defined needs or culture defined needs, which always, in the long run, end up being sin-defined needs – and use Jesus to do it.
The second temptation was to jump off the temple roof and dazzle the crowd below with a miracle. Peterson says:
The devil wants us to do the same, use Jesus as a hedge against boredom. Use Jesus as some people use drugs and alcohol, sex and fast cars, danger and thrills, television and guns. Use Jesus for his miracle potential. Use Jesus as a reprieve from the humdrum. Package Jesus as a commodity for weekend diversions.
The third temptation is for Jesus to rule the world through power. Peterson says:
The devil wants us to use Jesus in the same way. Use Jesus to run our families, our neighbourhoods, our schools, our governments as efficiently and properly as we can, but with no love or forgiveness. Every man and woman reduced to a function. That is the only way you can have a just and peaceful and prosperous government. If you let people have a say in these matters, suddenly you will find yourself operating in a maelstrom of prejudice, egotism, ambition, superstition, ignorance, greed, avarice – you name it. Our newspapers and newscasts do name it every day. Meanwhile the devil is at your elbows, tempting us to impose “the right” by eliminating freedom. Gandhi used to talk disparagingly of “dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good”.
I don’t know about you but these insights help me relate to the temptations of Jesus in a whole new way!