Today I spent some time with my friends romping through the trees. Of course my best buddy Bert could not be with us. But he is now home with his Vickie resting and recuperating in his own personal luxury suite that his Vickie made for him. You can check out how he is doing here.
One of the things we did today was help two of my dog friends with their Search and Rescue training. MOM and I have done this before and we love it, MOM really loves it. So Bert's Vickie went and got herself lost in the woods in one area and me and MOM got ourselves lost in another area. (Of course I was never really lost I knew right where we were, I just pretended).
It was great fun. We hiked through trees and MOM crawled under all kinds of thick brush. We hiked to the river and then back into the woods and brush. Then we sat on a log under some brush and waited to be found. I know that being lost for real can be scary but I have to admit I had a great time getting lost. As we waited MOM talked to me about when Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days. He didn't have anything to eat, and the conditions were harsh and then "the Evil One" came and tempted Jesus. I listened real good and then told MOM what I thought:
|Can you find me in this photo?|
Whatever the reason Jesus is immediately confronted with three major temptations. And he is confronted with this basic question: Would he take the crown without the cross? The temptations Jesus faced are the most basic temptations in life and they form the foundation for all other temptations. I would propose that when temptation comes our way; if we will pause and classify the temptation, we would be able to identify it with one of the three temptations Jesus faced. We will also be better equipped to answer with the words and obedience of Christ.
|Waiting to be found|
There are times when all of us are tempted. None of us ever escapes some form of temptation. I think what Jesus went through is a good reminder to us that goodness is not synonymous with innocence. True goodness can come after a struggle with evil.
|Can you find me in here?|
The first temptation is turning stones into bread. Bread is not how we live, not solely, and not primarily. We live in obedience to the word of God. If we come to God we come because we belong with him not because he has something for us. We come because our soul needs to be in God's presence not because our belly needs to be filled.
Then Jesus is tempted to jump off a high place. And that Evil One uses a scripture to get Jesus to do it. You know you can't just simply quote scripture, obviously the Devil can do that too, it's not enough. You cannot manipulate scripture for your own purpose, or even for what we perceive to be the purpose of God.
Finally Jesus is tempted to serve Satan and if he does he will be given all the kingdoms on earth. But that Jesus refuses to change the world by becoming a part of the world. Then he tells The Evil One to move along. (I like that part). Of course Jesus would be tempted again and again in the 3 years to come. But right from the start Jesus let Evil know that he was not confronting a man's power, but the very power of God.
You know what? That same power is available to everyone. So I suppose the question is, "What does it mean for us?" Some would say that to be a Christian means that life is all roses. But even roses have thorns. Life can be a struggle and a wilderness experience. But in those times, when we try to find our way through the wilderness and when temptation comes and offers the wrong answers and choices, we have a Creator who will be with us and offer us strength. Jesus went through the temptations too and this I suppose is the twist ending of Lent. If Jesus saves himself, he cannot save us. Jesus was tempted to take the crown without the cross. He did not because he loves you.
A special note to my buddy Bert. I know you will be tempted to climb over logs, and run and jump and greet every one who comes to your place. But my friend now is the time to rest and heal. I know the temptation will be strong, but you will be stronger if you resist. You need anything Your Vickie is right there to be your strength and you have a whole world of friends who will lend you a paw, me included, I'll be the first in line to help.