God put words on the page for the article about Creation v. Evolution, and I can honestly say I didn’t see it coming.
It was difficult to be awake this morning, but God got me up anyway, because He knew I needed to get moving and go to church and learn about Him and hang out with other Christians, otherwise I was going to have one hard week.
I took a shower, got dressed, so when I finally sat down to read God’s word and talk to Him, I was much more awake and attentive to what I was about to read. Today I read about the temptation of Jesus.
Now, this particular moment in Jesus’ ministry is one of the many parallels between the gospels of Matthew (4:1-11), Mark (1:12,13), and Luke (4:1-13), while the gospel of John omits this occurrence. For the gospels that include this, the temptation of Jesus by Satan in the wilderness is what happens before Jesus begins his ministry and chooses his disciples. I’ve read this detailed account in Matthew before (the account in Mark is more condensed), but I still just can’t get over the craziness of the whole situation.
First of all, you have Jesus in the wilderness, who hasn’t eaten for forty days. He’s probably hungry and tired and weary. Satan shows up and tempts Jesus to do all sorts of things like turn stone into bread and worship Satan and jump off a building. At first Satan tempts Jesus physically, targeting his bodily desire and need for food. While he was 100% God, he was also 100% man, so we can know that after forty days, that hunger was probably eating through his stomach. But Jesus responds with a reference to Deuteronomy 8:3, saying “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
Satan obviously sees this doesn’t work and takes Jesus to a high place and shows him “all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time” (v. 5). Can you imagine seeing the entire world in a matter of seconds, a single moment? I can’t. I also can’t imagine that I wouldn’t be in absolute awe of witnessing everything the world has to offer. But this isn’t how Jesus saw it. Satan says to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
Hold up. Let’s start with the first part. Because there is sin in the world, Satan is basically ruling over the human race with permission from God. God is still very active in the lives of His people and the course of His creation, but Satan’s slimy fingerprints are everywhere. Regardless, everything on the earth–the people, the animals, the buildings, the plants, the land–all belong to God; He made them with His mighty hands. So, even though Satan has authority in a land of sin, he’s still trying to give the Son of God something that isn’t originally Satan’s. God owns it; Jesus is God’s son. Jesus responds with God’s call for man to worship Him and Him alone. There’s no way for Satan to look stupider.
Oh, wait, I forgot. There’s one more temptation.
Satan takes Jesus, as a last attempt to win him over, to Jerusalem and puts him on the top of the temple. Then, Satan uses scripture to try and justify Jesus’ throwing himself off the building, saying that angels will catch him before he hits the ground. I want to pause and zoom in on Satan’s method here. While I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this particular deception, this twisting of the scriptures is just another way Satan fools us into thinking something that’s not true. Deception using God’s word is what created denominations, what corrupted the church, what brought about satanic worship and infatuation with things of a demonic nature, and what caused exaltation of angels instead of exaltation of the One who created them. Satan does all sorts of ridiculously twisted things to trip us up, and we need to be discerning.
Anyway, Jesus very coolly responds with a reference to Deuteronomy 6:16, saying “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (v.12) The passage ended with “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him (Jesus) until an opportune time.” (v. 13).
This was very eye-opening to me. First of all, “every temptation” implies that Satan tempted Jesus with many other things than the ones written in the Bible. Second of all, “until an opportune time” could suggest that Satan had been tempting Jesus all throughout his ministry and not just during this time before his ministry began. I understand it might be obvious, but it would make sense that Jesus was continuously tempted by Satan as he healed the sick, loved the poor, and chastised the Pharisees. So not only were the Pharisees provoking him and trying to trip him up, but Satan was most certainly doing the same thing. Imagine what Satan might’ve been saying while Jesus was on the cross, feeling completely abandoned and rejected by the One he couldn’t live without, the One he craved, his Father God.
“See, He abandoned you.”
“They’re happy you’re dying. They’re not worth saving.”
The best part is we have Jesus’ answer:
“It is finished” (John 19:30).
In the morning service at church is where I figured out what to write for the article. I was scanning Genesis, trying to find something, anything that would spark an idea. When I couldn’t, I once again reminded myself it was in God’s hands and set my Bible down until the service started. Pastor, because he was talking about being part of a family of purpose, ironically had us turn to Genesis. This time, when I read the very first two verses of the first chapter, I got it.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1,2).
This is what I started my article with, and later on at night when I was writing it, my fingertips constructed the piece with ease, as if I weren’t even the one writing it. And it’s done save some editing. God is just so cool like that, ya know? All I had to do was let go and ask. I sometimes forget that God wants me to turn to Him for help…but when I remember, it’s a beautiful thing and I get to see God’s awesomeness 🙂
I went to the Windsor Cafe with a new group today: Heidi, Rosie, Laura (Heidi’s sister), and Laura’s husband and his father, who are both from the Dominican Republic. I ordered a Roma panini while us girls talked about first dates and hair while the men spoke in Spanish. Laura at one point while we were eating asked me if I was a vegetarian since I chose a Roma panini instead of a Champagnolo panini, which was a Roma with chicken on it. I told her no, but contemplated actually becoming a vegetarian…
No, never mind, I love bacon cheeseburgers and roast beef way too much to do that.
The afternoon service was a continuation of our group study in 1 John. After the service I found myself extremely tired, but not quite ready to go home. I ended up going with Edward and Priscilla to Manhattan and attended a service at Redeemer, getting home in plenty of time to relax and finish up some final assignments.
A few people today asked me, acknowledging that my stay was still premature but asking anyway, what I would be doing after college. Would I be staying in New York City? Would I go back home? Would I continue on with school? If so, would it (school) be in the City? These were all questions I’d thought about countless times over, but had never really made an effort to answer for one reason. God is the one who brought me here. It was never my plan to come to New York City. Realistically, it’s God’s call completely, because I don’t know where He wants me or what He wants me to do. He could have me half way across the world serving as a missionary in two years, or He could have me working at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, or He could have me stay right here and do more school. I have no idea what He’s going to do. But once I get past the thought of me not being in complete control of my future and realize it’s better to let the Designated Driver behind the wheel of my life, I remember how exciting living in God is, and how much adventure awaits me 🙂
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 3:13,14, ESV