Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. [NRSV]
Types of Temptation: My Own, My Circle, Strangers
Stone to Bread
We want to blame the devil but we do a good tempting ourselves. We know our own weaknesses and lust without much struggle.
We live with the assumption that if no one knows, if no one else cares, if no one speaks up, then it’s just not that bad.
Living under the radar is directly about are relationship with God.
There are those in our circles of influence: Those in our family, community, in the church or other groups who know our actions and see our deeds, and know what’s going on, but we point out each other’s sin and brokenness and keep each other’s silenced by mutual leverage.
We will mind our business and stay out of yours because we want to be perceived as “good Christian folks”
We don’t want to be tested ourselves so we don’t put each other to the test.
Jesus is taken to a mountain top experience and sees the global perspective of personal choices.
We want to find the lowest price on our clothes, tools and toys but don’t tell us about the people working for pennies to make the prices so low.
We don’t want to connect our little sins with the folks who are certainly guilty of bigger sins. A sin maybe a sin, but the consequences aren’t the same.
What do we learn about Temptation
1. It is a real experience for us all, including Jesus
2. It most often comes when we are at our weakest moments.
3. It reaches every level of our experience.
4. Spiritual Retreat can be a good context for being prepared
5. Scripture is the first defence
6. We can be angels or devils to others, offering nurture and support or torment and pain.
If we pray, “Do not lead us into Temptation..” then we ought not “Lead others into temptation either.”
RETREAT ( a Lenten season of practicing being lead by God instead of ourselves, our friends and fears. )
I have a micro retreat in the next five minutes. Don’t look at your watch, allow me to be the time keeper…
Spend the next five minutes prayer for God to strengthen you in the face of your sin, weakness, struggles, fears and failures.
Spend the next five minutes reading scripture for your support
Spend the next five minutes thinking of ways you might minister to someone who has been torn by sin and separation
Then together we will pray for strength and power and trust.