Crushed

Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and: ‘With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. [Lk 4: 9-13] [1]

I want my temple!  Not God’s temple, my temple!  The one where I imagine I am honored, worshipped, adored.  I had it as an only child!  Now I want it again!!!

I use to be trapped in the “I am better than they are” fantasy world where I am the center of attention, the nexus around which all life revolves. Still am at times. But I’d loose my identity when I often dash my foot against the stone of truth, the Corner Stone, reality, others, the Son of God.

God, when I do that, I am afraid, nobody will pay any attention to me, nobody will love me…Silly, I have loved you even before you were born; I “so loved the world that..[I] gave…[my] only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For…[I] did not send…[my] Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.[Jn 3:16-17] This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. [Jn 15:12-14]

It’s very disconcerting that the devil gets to temp You, Jesus. You are God, after all. You are his maker, You are what holds him in existence and gives him everything…but You humbled Yourself to allow Yourself to be tempted by him for our sake?  Not a wise move in my estimation…my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways [Is 55:8] For…[you] do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with…[your] weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested [tempted] in every way, yet without sin. [Heb 4:15]

It’s also scary that the devil can quote scripture so easily. Indeed, beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. [Mt 7:15-16]  Each time You countered with Scripture, You knew exactly how to parry his thrust.  I, however, am just a mere human, without Your knowledge, without Your holiness, without Your stamina, without Your grace.  How can You expect me to dodge his bullets as adroitly as You did?

Do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say. [Lk 12: 11-12] Do you not recall that each time I confronted a person possessed, the devil recognized Me: They prostrate themselves before Me, crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!”[Mk 5: 6-7]

Be cautious, however; never underestimate the evil one: he flies under the radar, enticing you to think he really does not exist, is a figment of your imagination, could not be a creature that the good God allows to exist, has little to do with the real world. Be very cautious or you will find yourself confronted with a power beyond your comprehension. He will taunt you: Jesus I recognize, Paul I know, but who are you? [Acts 19:15] and like the seven sons of Sceva, he will spring upon you and subdue you and you will be forced to flee “naked and wounded from that house.” [Acts 19:16]  That is why I have you pray: do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. [Mt 6:13]

My angels, indeed, guard you…but be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour. [1 Pet 5:8]

Listen to what I told Paul…“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”  Imitate him: I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. [2 Cor 12:9-10]. You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test. In my weakness, I fell, but in God’s strength, I got up and continued on.

[1]Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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