Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Satan, Theologian

 

Today, we hear again of Christ’s temptation by Satan in the desert. Note what occurs in the second temptation: 

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him,

“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’”

At some point, every Christian encounters this trick. Modern people must worry that some careless utterance recorded on social media many years ago will be taken out of its casual context and employed as a weapon of defamation. But even true statements can become points of confusion when isolated from broader knowledge and understanding. 

I admire Christians who can quote Biblical passages and identify each verse from memory. The best I can manage is to remember something well enough to locate it after a little digging. There is value in attention to details and to the sequence of revelation. 

However, too little knowledge or an inflexibly tight focus can mislead. Someone once quoted Jesus to me as having said, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” That is true. But Christ immediately continues, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” The first statement by itself can be interpreted as a condemnation of wealth. But in the full context we learn that the wealthy too can be saved; because holiness is seen by what we give rather than by what we lack, by humble reliance on the Lord rather than by cunning preparation. 

In one book, we are admonished for failing to act on our beliefs. In another, we are admonished for fretful planning as if the Lord is less attentive to our needs than He is to birds and flowers. Our Christian faith is full of difficult balances and paradoxes, seasons and conditions, and so much that keeps us learning even thousands of years since the words were first shared. Revelation has concluded, but the journey of understanding what has been revealed continues to unfold. 

Temptations born of misunderstanding can come both from without and from within. May the Lord have mercy on us all for moments when our own confusion leads others astray. And may the Lord grant us the humility to seek His guidance before we open our yaps. 

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. OldPhil Coolidge

    Temptations born of misunderstanding can come both from without and from within.

    This morning our minister played videos of the Temptations singing “My Girl” and “Just My Imagination” to lead into his sermon.

    • #1
    • March 1, 2020, at 1:49 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  2. JoelB Member

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Temptations born of misunderstanding can come both from without and from within.

    This morning our minister played videos of the Temptations singing “My Girl” and “Just My Imagination” to lead into his sermon.

    “Temptations.” One of my favorite groups. This sermon would not be on-line by any chance?

    • #2
    • March 2, 2020, at 11:17 AM PST
    • 1 like
  3. Brady Allen Member

    Context matters. Scriptural context should matter more.

    “‘An eye for an eye’ – that’s in the Bible.” – some random presidential candidate.

    You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

    — Jesus Christ, English Standard Version (Matthew 5:38–39)

     

    • #3
    • March 2, 2020, at 11:24 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  4. OldPhil Coolidge

    JoelB (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Temptations born of misunderstanding can come both from without and from within.

    This morning our minister played videos of the Temptations singing “My Girl” and “Just My Imagination” to lead into his sermon.

    “Temptations.” One of my favorite groups. This sermon would not be on-line by any chance?

    The church livestreams the sermon, but when I went to the site to find Sunday’s it wasn’t archived yet.

    • #4
    • March 2, 2020, at 4:09 PM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Henry Castaigne Member

    Christianity is hard for me to understand. 

    • #5
    • March 7, 2020, at 7:22 AM PST
    • Like