A mother was teaching her 3-year old daughter the Lord’s Prayer. At bedtime, she repeated after her mother the lines from the prayer. Finally, she decided to go solo. Mom listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from E-mail. Amen.”
The little girl was only 3-years old, but she had already figured out one of the biggest temptations in life – E-Mail!
In today’s Gospel (Luke 4:1-13), we see Jesus beginning his Public Life. He goes to pray in the desert. The devil comes and tempts Jesus 3 times. Are these temptations to do something bad or something good?
The devil says: “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” Is this a good thing or a bad thing? If Jesus turns the stones into bread, then those who are starving to death will have food to eat. They say 21,000 children die everyday due to a lack of food and nutrition.
In the second temptation, the devil says: “I’ll give you the power over all the kingdoms of the world if you bow down before me and worship me.” Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The devil is saying to bow down before him and Jesus will have the power to get rid of all nuclear weapons and put an end to ISIS for good. Jesus will be able to keep the peace.
In the third temptation, the devil says, “Throw yourself off the top of the temple and if you are the Son of God, your angels will scoop you up and save you.” Most of us would say this is a good thing. Let’s see the proof that Jesus is really God and what his angels can do.”
So Jesus was not tempted by the devil to sin, but to live out his life in a different way. “Hey, Jesus, make it a whole lot easier on yourself and everybody else.” The devil was tempting Jesus to be the King of the World:
1. Turn stones into bread and feed the hungry.
2. Bow to me and stop all the wars, nuclear arms and terrorists.
3. Jump off the temple and let your angels catch you and prove to everyone once and for all that you are the Son of God.
Sounds good to me! Sounds real good to me! So why didn’t Jesus do it? Feed the starving? End the wars, the nuclear threats, and the terrorists? Prove, really prove he is the Son of God?
Don’t you think the devil should be running for office? He’s got a great platform!! (Maybe the devil is running for office. Some might say that he or she is!) What the devil is saying is what we want to hear. That’s what politicians do – they tell us what we want to hear.
But when you really think about it….What you’ve done is create your own world. Not the world God created. You’ve created your own outcomes. Not God’s outcomes.
Isn’t that what the devil does? He leads us to create our own world: I know what is best for the world!! And when an Adolph Hitler gets enough power from the devil and from people who are his very intelligent sheep, they try to create a master race of Arians.
I heard something most interesting last week. A commentator said that wherever Hitler is today (probably hell), he’s most likely celebrating and saying, “There’s no doubt that I won World War II. I tortured and killed 6 million Jews, didn’t I? It was all worth it! That’s what I call winning Big!”
The devil was trying to succeed with Jesus the way he eventually succeeded with Hitler – Sell him on a big easy win. Entice him to create an alternate world of reality and truth.
Jesus was 30 years old. Before he began his new Public Life, the devil was trying to convince him that there was no need for his preaching and his Parables. There was no need for his miracles, his healing and his forgiveness of sins. There was no need for his suffering, his cross, his death and resurrection.
The devil was saying that there was no need for a real, tangible Kingdom here on earth or in heaven. His alternative reality kingdom of turning bread into stones, ending all bloodshed, and having angels scoop him up in midair was by far the better choice.
Jesus could not be fooled. He knew clearly why the Father had sent him – to teach us about a real, tangible Kingdom here on earth and a real Kingdom of Heaven. A God Notice
What the devil was trying to sell Jesus was the Crown without the Cross.
And what the devil is trying to sell you and me is that there is a Crown without a Cross.
When you find that Crown without the Cross, please be sure to send me an E-mail.