Monday, 18 February 2013

Some Study Notes and Questions on the Temptations of Jesus

Some notes and questions on Luke 4:1-13 that I will be using in the Lenten study this week.

1. The temptations of Jesus in the desert are not a chance meeting between Jesus and the devil, and they are not at the instigation of the devil. Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert.
Q: Why are the temptations instigated by the Spirit? Why is it necessary for Jesus to be tempted?

2. Forty days recalls the forty years of the desert wanderings of the people of Israel after their liberation from slavery in Egypt. Unlike the people of Israel, Jesus renounces the temptation to idolatry and lack of trust in the faithfulness of God.  
Q: How has your trust in and faithfulness to God gone in the desert times or places of your life? 

 3. Jesus refutes the promptings of the devil by citing Scripture. The devil gets the hang of this and uses Scripture to justify the third and final temptation.
Q: How do you feel about the devil’s ability to use scripture? How do we stop the misuse of scripture? What does this tell us about how to use scripture?

Temptation of Jesus by Michael Hudak
 4. “... until an opportune time.” (4:13) The opportune time will be the Passion of Jesus. (See Lk 22:3) The Passion will be the final proving ground of the Son; in the cross the true sonship of Jesus will be revealed.
Q: Opportune in what way?

5. Commentators like to call the temptations of Jesus programmatic. By this they mean that the temptations reveal something about the whole ministry of Jesus, his death and resurrection.
Q: If you were to write a similar account of the three programmatic temptations of your life, what would they be? (One will do if you can’t think of three.)

Quote for Reflection

Crucifixion by Richard Wallace
The Roman captain asks Lavinia, a young Christian, why she is willing to die as a martyr.

THE CAPTAIN: Are you then going to die for nothing?
LAVINIA: Yes, that is the wonderful thing. It is since all the stories and dreams have gone that I have now no doubt at all that I must die for something greater than dreams or stories.
THE CAPTAIN: But for what?
LAVINIA: I don’t know. If it were for anything small enough to know, it would be too small to die for. I think I’m going to die for God. Nothing else is real enough to die for.

George Bernard Shaw, Androcles and the Lion (Act II)
Quoted in Paul Harris, (ed.), The Fire of Silence and Stillness,  p. 168.

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