After overcoming the temptations of Mr. Scratch, I don’t think we should be surprised that Jesus is almost thrown off a cliff. And to think, it all started with such a simple remark: “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Let’s back up a bit. Continue reading
I mentioned earlier that the first of the three tests was the “easy” one, if any encounter with Mr. Scratch can truly be called easy. Turning stones into bread was a test of faith, yes, but faith about what? I have to admit, friends, that in my mind some things are easier to have faith about than others, and if you put daily sustenance on one scale, and waging a war of the soul against the traditions and institutions and cultural bullet trains of the world for the everlasting lives of every person on earth on the other, the later hits the table with a thud and the former gets catapulted to the ceiling. The second two tests aren’t about mere survival, or even about mere power. They’re about directly accomplishing the (perceived) will of the Father, which makes them all the more dangerous. I don’t believe history has ever provided any greater excuse for death of the body and captivity of the soul than pursuing “God’s will.” And so I believe the last two tests are very much a pair. In fact, I think they’re two sides of the same coin.
I believe both tests — the kingdoms and the temple — are about dominion of the earth, but by different means. The test of the kingdoms was about worldly domination via earthly authority, a multiplicity of coups d’etat or a popular overthrow of the Pax Romana in favor of a Pax Christi. In other words, folks, I believe the test of the kingdoms was a temptation of civic leadership. The test of the temple, on the other hand, is a test of religious leadership, which is far more dangerous. Continue reading