29 April, 2006

40 Days

Have you ever had the same revelation over and over, and it's new every time? I'm not talking about wonderful stuff, either. It's like a recurring nightmare that I keep forgetting. A few weeks later, I have this little revelation again, and it's like I have never had the thought before. Then a deja-vu thing starts rattling around, and suddenly it dawns on my that: A) This is hardly original, and B) I am more than a little daft. :-)

It seems that every time I think about the suffering God has ordained in our lives, I end up thinking about how most of the suffering is in the waiting. We wait on answers, on events, on faith, and on deliverance. And much of that waiting seems to be done on an empty stomach. Some day, He will deliver. And so we wait, seemingly endlessly, in a dry place.

And after the long wait, a strange, unexpected thing happens.

We have to fight for our lives!

??

But this is exactly in keeping with the scriptural pattern.

Luke 4
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, ...


At the end of 40 days of fasting, Jesus was hungry.

Then, and only then, the devil tries Jesus three times. The 40 day wait was an integral part of the trial, and there was nothing that could substitute for it. We are talking about the Son of God here! It seems like He might have better things to do with His time than growing weaker while waiting for a final battle with the devil!

But He didn't.

Waiting on God and the battle seems to be a part of the pattern of life that He has allowed in this age.

In the Army, they used to remind us that the march was only to the battle. While training, it gets to feeling like the march is the battle. It's not. After you march for 40 days, you get to dig in and prepare for the actual fight, and that is where we are truly tried.

Now, I just need to find a way to be able to remember this little lesson for more than 3 days!

Gal 6
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

(Uh, I haven't already blogged this, have I?)

(FTR - life is pretty sweet these days. These thoughts are not born out of any suffering :-). Just praising the Lord for the fight He waged.)

14 comments:

Milly said...

I work at a place where some folks aren’t always good at waiting. Today one was a blessing he waited and waited and was so helpful had he not produced the number I was about to give him the item, I was going to pay for it myself later if they wanted.. I had several people who were willing to wait patiently. I also had a few that weren’t. I can tell those who have God, they are willing to wait because that’s what we are doing on this earth. This is our time here our waiting area until the Great Healer calls us back.

Uh, I haven't already blogged this, have I?

Keep reminding us if it has.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

I find it most interesting in this scripture. That it specifically states that the Spirit led Jesus into the wildreness.

I often think of the Spirit as my liberator: as my guidance OUT of danger. Yet here we see that the Spirit guides Jesus into danger.

Does God do this, knowing that the person will overcome? Is this some kind of test? I am for the later.

I see the waiting as part of this test too.

God knows what we can and cannot handle. I am thankful for his oversight.

-Doug

Maeghan said...

Codepoke,
Waiting is certainly hard to do, though we know we still have to wait. And what's worse it is during these trying times of waiting that time seem to stand still. One of my experience in waiting was quite bad - but God in his kindness do know our limitations. In the long time of waiting for an answer from God, I kept reminding and telling myself - it could have been worse, so rejoice in the Lord, again I say, rejoice.

Maeghan said...

Doug,
You got something interesting there. It got me thinking as well - would the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted?

What I think is amazing is the relationship within the Trinity here, in continuation from the baptism of Jesus. It is the Trinitarian God working as one. But would the Spirit deliberately lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted? Could it be that it has to be done: that Jesus has to be tempted to indicate both his manhood and Diety? That as a man he can be tempted but as God, he beyond it.

I have tried checking out (the only) Luke commentary I have and the more classic commentaries in e-Sword.

It is interesting to note that Joel B Green (NICNT) does not have much on this section, implying that there isn't any issue here.

AT Robertson however has this to say: Was led by the Spirit (ēgeto en toi ... At any rate Luke affirms that Jesus was now continuously under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Hence in this same sentence he mentions the Spirit twice ... During the forty days (hēmerās tesserakonta). Accusative of duration of time, to be connected with “led” not with “tempted.” He was led in the Spirit during these forty days (cf. Deu_8:2, forty years). The words are amphibolous also in Mar_1:13. Mat_4:2 seems to imply that the three recorded temptations came at the close of the fasting for forty days. That can be true and yet what Luke states be true also. These three may be merely specimens and so “representative of the struggle which continued throughout the whole period” (Plummer).

So it could be possible that, semantically speaking, Jesus was led by the Spirit in the 40 days of wilderness time, period. The temptations will happen anyway wherever he will be, stated here as an incident indicating that he is fully man and will be tempted buy fully God, he will not fall into temptation.

With that, in application to us, life is a long test of living out a life in Christ, that we should be steadfast and standing firm in the Lord; and with Jesus as our example, he faced temptations and so will we; he overcame and since we live out lives in Him, we can overcome.

What do you think?

japhy said...

maeghan, I would say that the location and duration of Jesus's seclusion was for meditative and contemplative purposes. A lot of Old Testament accounts of prophets speaking with God or doing His will involves them fasting for several days before whatever event it is.

As for his temptation, of course it was integral. Anyone can go through life without sin if they're never tempted; that Jesus was tempted (making him like us) and yet chose not to sin (making him perfect where we are not) is what makes Jesus a realistic example for us to follow. Jesus is human, he just knows how to resist temptation and choose God's will instead.

Also, that he was tempted when he was weak and hungry only reinforces his strength in/from God.

codepoke said...

Cool, DugALug and Maeghan,

I was recently taught a cool theological word for this. Recapitulation.

It means, "to repeat" and carries a connotation of summarizing as well. (And "capitulate" really is a word, which is funny, because it means "to surrender". Anyway.)

Recapitulation means that Jesus successfully lived out everything Adam failed. Really, everything mankind needed to do to be perfect. Hence, Jesus was baptized not because He needed cleansing from sin, but because mankind needed cleansing of some sort. Had Adam not sinned, He may have needed baptism anyway. That's a whole 'nother can of worms, though.

For our purposes, Jesus was recapitulating the battle between Adam and the serpent. Satan came up against Adam and, in a fair fight, bested him. Satan tempted Adam straight up, and Adam decided with his eyes wide open to surrender his authority and responsibility for the chance to overthrow God.

Satan approached the Son of Man with the same deal, and the Son would have none of it. Jesus fought that battle in a deprived state, and won. Adam surrendered the earth with everything in his favor. Christ took the first step toward winning it back with everything stacked against Him.

He was led in the Spirit during these forty days

Great quote, Maeghan. (and bonus points for amphibolous. I dare you to use that in a sentence over at The Realm. Rich will love it! I had to look it up. It means it can mean either of 2 things.)

I don't know whether these temptations were the only 3 or not. I would like to guess that they are literal and the only ones, but who knows.

I also don't know why the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. It might have been to inaugurate His ministry in general, and satan took the opportunity. Or it might have been specifically to meet the devil for battle, and satan simply waited until Christ was weakened to take his shot. I have heard that the battle may actually have happened in the same physical place that the Garden of Eden stood (or stands - scroll down a bit for the text.)

I see the waiting as part of this test too.

Whatever else, I am with DugALug. I think that waiting is one of the worst trials of all, and I think that it was a part of this one.

codepoke said...

Japhy,

Anyone can go through life without sin if they're never tempted;

Are you sure? My instinct is to doubt this. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I doubt it.

If the first command is to love the Lord our God fully, and the second is to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves, then I don't buy this at all.

Jesus is human, he just knows how to resist temptation and choose God's will instead.

I think this may under-sell what is happening here. There is an old man and a new man. Jesus is new-man human, and new-man human resists temptation.

It is only a new creation that begin to follow God's commands, and the new man cannot do otherwise. The old man would sin whether tempted or not. The new man loves God and neighbor, regardless of the temptation.

DugALug said...

Japhy,

I've got to say that these posts/comments really make me think about everything. Jesus was fully man. Temptation for Him, was every bit as real as it is for us.

Also I don't believe that fasting makes you week. Fasting, makes our physical body week, but if the Bible is true, which I think it is, then fasting strengthens our Spiritual body while weekening our flesh.

I believe that Christ was preparing for battle, and He knew weekening his flesh was necessary to assure his resolve through the trials. It was as if Jesus knew that the battle was not only against Satan, but also against His own flesh.

I have fasted for two weeks before. And I can attest that your hunger goes away after about 10 days. I am not saying that getting to eat wasn't a desire, but it was a mental urge, not a physical one. You are physically week, and you know you need to eat, but it is like your body doesn't want to waste the energy to be hungry.

I can't say it was overly pleasant, but I can tell you that my prayer time, was way more rewarding.

I gotta say that I also believe that sin isn't propagated by temptation: it's root is in the law. That is why Jesus came to free us from the penalty of the law, not free us from temptation.

God Bless
-Doug

Maeghan said...

Recapitulate

Cool ...
However, according to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, it takes to mean repeat in concise form or to make a summary. Amphibolous in meaning? {{widest grin ever}} Yes, we are called to imitate Christ but how in a concise form?

Oh, I take the temptations to be literal as well. But what I have just realised is that it may be possible for Jesus to face temptations other than these three, being fully man. But given the account of these three, he will definitely not fall into them, being fully God. Hmm ... this could also be the reason why it is included in the Gospels.

These blogs, posts and comments are cool ... I am learning so much ... and everyday at that! just wow ...

DugALug said...

Guys/Gals,

I must be a stoopy, I'm not getting the 3 temptations thing.

I am more of the opinion the Jesus was tempted in every way... if that could be done with 3 temptations then so be it.

God Bless
-Doug

codepoke said...

DugALug,

You have probably already slapped yourself in the head for not tracking on this one, but you know the three temptations. Turn the stone into bread, jump off the temple, bow to satan to win all the world's kingdoms.

It might be argued that Adam failed at all three in his one failure. He failed to trust God for provision, He tempted God by violating His rules, and he tried to win even more authority than God had given him.

codepoke said...

Maeghan,

Yes, we are called to imitate Christ but how in a concise form?

;-) That would be pretty funny. Us trying to summarize Christ.

What I meant here is that Christ summarizes our lives. He lives out the needs of every person from birth to death, in His brief 33 years. He experiences and overcomes every trial, and performs every requirement of the law for us. So now, we can can claim His righteous life in place of our own. I don't know how concise His life is compared to ours, but I know it is complete!

I am learning so much ... and everyday at that! just wow

Same here!

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Apparently I am an actual STOOPY. (Slapping myself in the head).

When I am in disagreement with you on some God-forsaken subject, feel free to quote me on this.

Thanks for the insight. ;)

God Bless
Doug

Rich said...

I'm real late on this, but I did want to say keep it up with the excellent vocabulary usage.

It doesn't have to be at my blog. Just seeing it here does my heart a whole lotta good. You just don't find:

amphibolous
recapitulate

and, of course

stoopy

at many other blogs that I've read.

Well done!

(oh, and the definition for stoopy? does that only apply to dugalugs?)