Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Temptations of Christ Part 1

I couldn't find a good image of Temptations of Christ so I just photo shopped this one.

The Temptations of Christ are found in Matthew 4:1-11
and Pope Benedict's book, Jesus of Nazareth pages 25-45.

The First Temptation: "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread."

"Mockery and temptation blend into each other here: Christ is being challenged to establish his credibility by offering evidence for his claims. This demand for proof is a constantly recurring theme in the story of Jesus' life; again and again he is reproached for having failed to prove himself sufficiently, for having hitherto failed to work that great miracle that will remove all ambiguity and every contradiction, so as to make it indisputably clear from everyone who and what he is or is not.
And we make this same demand of God and Christ and his Church throughout the whole of history. 'If you exist, God,' we say, 'then you'll just have to show yourself. You'll have to part the clouds that conceal you and give us the clarity that we deserve. If you, Christ, are really the Son of God, and not just another one of the enlightened individuals who keep appearing in the course of history, then you'll just have to prove it more clearly than you are doing now. And if the Church is really supposed to be yours, you'll have to make that much more obvious than it is at present.'" -Jesus of Nazareth pg. 30-31

Jesus is setting priorities by example. The physical need is not as important as one's relationship with God. Jesus talks about being sustained by God. The natural disposition of man is to think he can do everything by himself. I shouldn't rely on people. I should pull myself up by my bootstraps and make something of myself. I need to be an accomplished person. I this, and me that, and God no where. The devil seems to be trying to get Jesus, especially during his fast, a time when he trying to connect with his Father in prayer, to satisfy his own need. He is trying to distract Jesus from God.

What does Jesus have to do in order for us to believe he is the Messiah?

Pope Benedict proposes an interesting question: What is our criteria for accepting a Savior? What are our expectations of a Messiah? The Church? Of God?

It seems ironic that if we are asking this question then no matter what the answer is, we more than likely will not change our way of life.

I once asked a friend of mine who had stop attending mass, how come she stopped going? She said she does not go because she did not agree with the Church's teaching on gay marriage, women ordination and abortion. So I then asked her, "So if the Church changed it's position on those three issues right now at this very moment, would you go running to the nearest church screaming, 'I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and I seek salvation through the Holy Roman Catholic Church?'"


She responded, "Probably not."

Most of us do not want a God who will challenge us. We want a God who will tell us to keep doing what we are doing. There is no criteria for a Messiah or a Savior because those who need a criteria do not need a Savior. They want an Agreer or a Back up Singer... which is fine. Just be honest about it.

We tend to see a "Savior" as literally someone who saves us which implies we need something to be saved from. But who needs that if everything is fine. So the question that is left is:
Is everything fine?

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