An analysis of the temptations of christ as a preparation to start his ministry
|Before we decide upon a career or a course of action we tend to sit down and analyze the situation consider the pros and cons and then finalize on the method of execution. All these would depend upon our end goal, the means with which we achieve the end goal would project our values . Similarly Jesus when embarking on his mission of proclaiming the kingdom of God which was his goal, spent time and concentration on working out the means through which he would proceed to present himself and his mission to the people of his time.
His initial formation as we see in the gospel of Luke Chapter 2-41 onwards that Jesus at the age of twelve was well versed with the scripture and also had the insight of his mission when he answered his mother “did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house” This realization as in Isaiah 61 evolved and was fully realized before he began his public ministry.
Jesus spent time in solitude and reflection before he began his ministry of Spreading Gods Kingdom . The forty days in the wilderness was a time of deep search from within to analyze and decide upon how he was to work on his ministry.
At the end of the time of reflection and grace came the temptations, the thoughts of achieving his ministry through various means, these temptations came as quotations from the scripture and presented as doubts with the usage of the word ‘if”. However we see that Jesus was able to rise above these temptations and gain clarity of his mission and means to achieve it.
We see that Jesus clearly decides to follow the values of God when he rejects the temptations that come to him.
In the first temptation of changing stones to bread Jesus conforms to the principle of total selflessness to an extent of denying even the basic needs of the self such as food, shelter and clothing so as to focusing on His Mission which is to do Gods will and bring Gods kingdom on earth. We see in the three years of public ministry that Jesus followed this value of self denial when he gives preference to be with children instead of resting, where he forgoes sleep for prayer, where he forgoes food to speak of Gods kingdom when he speaks to the woman at the well.
In the second temptation where Jesus was to fall from the pinnacle and have angels take charge of him” Jesus was challenged follow simple ways of reaching out in an ordinary day to day manner instead of following exuberance and propaganda , fame and popularity and to be a wonder worker to attract crowds to God. We find Jesus though out his ministry never wanted propaganda, he asked those whom he healed to be quiet and not talk about it to the others and spread his popularity. Jesus realized that God did not identify himself with his power and his abilities but rather with his character of compassion and love, God looked upon Love as his greatest strength and identified himself as a God of compassion and love to his people, Jesus imbibed this value of God and followed this in his life and ministry. Jesus used all his power for working miracle for the others and not for his own need. Even when he was crucified he could have saved himself by working a miracle and by escaping death but Jesus only submitted to Gods will and did not tempt God to save him when on the cross.
In the third temptation where all the kingdoms of the world were to be given to Jesus if he fell down and worshipped the devil, Jesus was challenged to follow the deceptions and false values of the devil to be enticed by the lures of the world, Jesus clearly takes charge and commands the devil to go away. We find that Jesus in his life was not taken up with worldly splendour, when everyone marvels at how beautiful the temple of Jerusalem was he was not taken up by it rather he was able to see beyond its temporary beauty and elegance into its purpose and destiny. He exposed the false and pretentious ways of the Pharisees and supported the value of truth as when in the example of the prayer of the Pharisee and the publican and in the widow’s mite at the temple.
After the temptation Jesus was clear as to how he should go about his mission and he starts by sharing his deep realization of him the messiah through the scripture in the words of the prophet Isaiah – 61in the fulfillment of the scripture in and though the messiah and the Messiah’s role of proclaiming Gods kingdom.