Sunday, July 17, 2016

Temptations of Christ: Part 2

There were three temptations or better said "three tests of faith":
  • God as the provider. Jesus hungered. Satan tempted him with food (bread from rocks; Luke 4:3)
  • Meekness and humility vs. Power and glory (earthly kingdoms; Luke 4:6)
  • Faith in God. (God's safety; Luke 4:9)
We must remember that Holy Scripture (The New Testament name for the Old Testament) is all about Jesus! The creation story, the birth of mankind and the sin of Adam and Eve were all about Jesus. Sometimes one must pray and say "how, Oh, Lord", but truth will manifest itself to those who truly seek truth.

Adam was allowed to fall. God didn't make him fail and neither did Satan. Because Adam was created with cognition, emotion and free will he was allowed to use them all! Machines have cognition, but emotion and will are discreet to living beings (so far). God KNEW in advance that Satan would tempt Adam and that he would fail because God knew all about "the flesh" when he created Adam!

When you think of "the flesh", don't just think of the skin. Our flesh is much more than an epidermal layer. "The flesh" refers to the mode of the world's effects and affects upon us and includes all the sensory perceptions, the things of the mind and the things of the heart. "The flesh" is the contaminates in the soul where righteousness should be! "The flesh" because it's so easily pleased is symbolic of human desires.

If we look at Jesus' temptations, he was offered "things of the flesh": satisfaction, power and prestige and independence from God! Jesus is tempted just as Adam was! Because he felt the same fleshly desires as Adam, Jesus understood first hand why Adam failed. Because he experienced temptation is why he is so graceful! He understands us because, as they say, "He's been there...", but we stop there! He "has not done that!"

That's what makes Jesus different than us. "He's been there, but not done that!" He could have, but he didn't because he relied on the word of his Father in heaven. It was his sword to fight off the barbs of Satan as they were shot at him, but Jesus demonstrated the power in the Word of God!

There is a profound relationship between Adam and Jesus!
1 Corinthians 15:44 "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (live-giving) spirit." (parenthesis mine).
Adam was made a living being with a soul, but Jesus, the last Adam, gave him life! We know that Adam was made in "our image" (Genesis 1:26). We should ask ourselves "Who is 'our'?" and the answer should be: "The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost!"  It's important that you understand that Adam was made with flesh in the image of Jesus, not that Jesus had yet procured the flesh, but God had a plan for mankind, and he knew how Jesus would be when born!

Adam was step one! He was with life, but he died spiritually. Jesus was born to give Adam life. Because Adam is our fleshly father, Jesus is our spiritual father, so to speak!

Let's compare the first Adam's temptations to those of the second Adam (Jesus).
  • Tree was good for food (Genesis 3:6)
  • Tree pleasant to the eyes. (Genesis 3:6)
  • Tree food for wisdom.  (Genesis 3:6)
Jesus was tempted with bread. Adam was tempted because the tree offered food.

Jesus was offered the kingdoms of the world. Satan showed him it's beauty. Adam was tempted with a beautiful tree with it's hanging fruit!

Jesus was tempted with independence. Satan denied that God would protect him. In effect Satan was saying "You don't need God when you can only depend on yourself!" That's reasoning. Adam got that same rationale from Satan. "You will become as God. You can depend on yourself!" In both cases Satan, with the first Adam and with the Second Adam, belittled God to endeavor to get both to go it alone, or in effect to worship him!

In both cases Satan was asserting that if Adam or Jesus submitted to him, "Ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:6). Satan was a liar from the beginning and that was lie number one! He was still telling the same lie when Jesus came. Jesus knew it was a lie because the same lie is what separated his ancestor, Adam, from God. Adam number two was not going to allow that to happen again, because he understood truth: "God is love and God is the giver of life." As God himself, the second Adam is that life-giver and he is The Word whose Voice communed with Adam in the Garden, then had the grace to provide the sacrifice (blood and death of an animal) to cover Adam's sins; the same thing The Word did for us!

These are not coincidences! Satan tempts the same then as now. "There is nothing new under the son!" according to Solomon. Jesus, the second Adam, was tempted just like the first Adam. Adam #1 failed! Adam # 2 did NOT! That's why we can have faith in the Spirit,  but not in the flesh, remembering that Jesus is the giver of life and we are merely life!

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