Posted by Forrest Parkinson

Jesus Way

The Temptation of Jesus
Q 6
Part 2 Trials

Filled with Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was guided into the wilderness. Here he was put  to the test by the devil for forty days. During that time he fasted and when it was over he was very hungry. Then the devil said to him, “if you are God’s son, turn this stone into a loaf of bread.” But Jesus replied, “Scripture says ‘People cannot live on bread alone.’”
Borg-Powelson-Riegert Reconstruction (1996)

Matthew 4:1-4
http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=232866407
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was famished.
The tempter came and said to him,
‘If you are the Son of God,
command these stones to become loaves of bread.’
But he answered,
‘It is written,
“One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ’

Luke 4: 1-4
http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=232866480
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,
where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing at all during those days,
and when they were over, he was famished.
The devil said to him,
‘If you are the Son of God,
command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’
Jesus answered him,
‘It is written,
“One does not live by bread alone.” ’

Dear Jesus Way Friends

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  So goes the Friedrich Nietzsche quote. Is it true?

Here’s another proverb; “Scar Tissue is weak tissue.” Is this true?

How about this one; “Hurt people hurt people?”

As a person who has experienced occasions of adversity and wounding, I can say these statements are both true and false, depending on the context and circumstances.

I have a badly burned hand and arm from a house-fire when I was an infant. My skin graph scars don’t sweat and they sunburn very easily. Nietzche might dismiss them and raise up my perspective on life and beauty. Indeed, my skin graphs were the height of a surgeon’s art in 1962. The scars are also a constant reminder of mortality, that I survived a tragic fire while my mother and sister did not survive. Does that make me stronger?

After my years of psychoanalysis and spiritual direction I have come to believe that they, my scars and orphaning, did not make me stronger but they made me different. They had a powerful impact on my life. Like many children of infancy trauma, my life has naturally gravitated to spiritual and aesthetic interests. Ideas like “purpose,” “mortal,” “holy,” or “beloved” are so much more than concepts or even desirable values. As an 11 month old child whose mother has died, in a psychological sense, my world died but I lived on. My infant soul was left with the instinct to live in an empty world. How does a child go on and make sense of it and make a joy of it anyway? I was really not at all surprised when I read my college psychology book that infants who lose their mothers often grow up to become artists, priests or nuns. They are also likely to be depressed and abuse substances. No surprises.

Jesus suffered many trials. In the saying today we hear of his trial of hunger and temptation to live for stomach.
“Command this stone to become a loaf of bread!”
I don’t know if the trial made him stronger but it changed him. Bread, multiplied abundantly, given freely to the hungry and shared with friends became the sign and symbol of Jesus’ presence among early followers of the Jesus way. When Jesus asked his followers to commemorate his life and to celebrate his ongoing life among him, what did he pick up? A loaf of bread!

On the night before he was betrayed, Jesus took a loaf of bread, broke it, gave it to his disciples and said “take this all of you and eat it, this my body given for you. “ After the supper was ended, he took a cup of wine, gave thanks, gave the cup to his disciples and said; “This is the cup of my blood, the blood of a new and everlasting covenant, do this in memory of me.”

So with our trials. Do they make us stronger? Not always. Do they change us? Absolutely we are changed by our trials. That change can be the distinctive and formative, molding of our character through which we are instruments of God’s blessing.

Faithfully,

Forrest

Seeking Jesus’ way.

Next Week
Questions to consider
1)  To progress, do I tolerate or avoid boredom?
2)  Impatience is energy, how do I harness it?
3)   Is time a tool in God’s formation of my Spirit?

The Temptation of Jesus
Q 6
Part 3 Formation takes time.

Filled with Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was guided into the wilderness. Here he was put  to the test by the devil for forty days. During that time he fasted and when it was over he was very hungry. Then the devil said to him, “if you are God’s son, turn this stone into a loaf of bread.” But Jesus replied, “Scripture says ‘People cannot live on bread alone.’”
Borg-Powelson-Riegert Reconstruction (1996)

Matthew 4:1-4
http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=232866407
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was famished.
The tempter came and said to him,
‘If you are the Son of God,
command these stones to become loaves of bread.’
But he answered,
‘It is written,
“One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ’

Luke 4: 1-4
http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=232866480
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,
where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing at all during those days,
and when they were over, he was famished.
The devil said to him,
‘If you are the Son of God,
command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’
Jesus answered him,
‘It is written,
“One does not live by bread alone.”