By Pastor Jerry Donovan
In Luke 4:1-13 Jesus is in conversation with Satan. It’s hard to imagine. We expect Jesus to be in conversation with God the Father. As we read the Gospels, time after time, we find Jesus at prayer. Jesus was in constant conversation with God.
Jesus was tempted. He struggled over how to live his life and how to do his ministry. Satan tried to draw the Lord away from God’s good plan for salvation. Satan offered Jesus easier options than death on a cross.
Often the most powerful temptations are the most subtle ones. Blatant sin is easier to spot and easier to avoid. The sin that is really hard to resist is sin for a good cause. When Satan came to Jesus, he didn’t try to get him to steal or kill or lie. He simply tried to get Jesus to pursue his mission by using other means than God’s means.
“The devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, ‘To you, I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me it will all be yours'”. Luke 4:5-7
The following is a fictional example of such a subtle temptation. A group of concerned Christians from all over the city had gathered knowing they represented the feeling of many more people like them. The congressman speaking to them was intense. The men and women in the group were nodding in agreement. An occasional “Amen” could be heard. “We have to take America back!” he proclaimed. “Pornography, illegal drugs, and the breakdown of the family are undermining the moral fiber of this country. It’s time we get tough. Stricter law enforcement, longer prison sentences, capital punishment for more crimes. This country needs to promote righteousness. Prayer and Bible reading should be a part of every public school room activities. It’s time for church leaders and politicians to team up to make America Christian again.”
The group burst into applause. After the meeting ended Linda approached the smiling congressman. “I agreed with a lot of what you said,” she began. “But I still have some serious questions. You talked a lot about getting tough on crime but not much about getting tender with the needy. What about the homeless and hungry? And I’m not so sure the churches should depend on the government to promote our faith. We shouldn’t look to the government to step in. We don’t need a government handout to do our work. Righteousness is not something you impose; it’s something God inspires.”
“Look lady,” he said. “Politicians like me are doing Christians a big favor. What the churches can’t do by persuasion, we can do by legislation. What you can’t do with a gentle word, we can do with the power to prosecute. I think it would be smart for your people to team up with folks in high places.”
And Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him’ ” (Luke 4:8).
Sometimes we try to out-think God. We ignore God’s guidelines and instead devise our own plans. We trade God’s will for our own clever techniques. Read Luke 4:1-13 and refresh your hearts and minds about temptations.