What I’m Thinking: Tempters Quoting Scripture


Jesus succeeded in resisting all the offers of the Tempter, even after a long period of fasting and loneliness, and even though the Tempter made of special authority: the words of Scripture.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking this week of the temptation of Jesus. Matthew’s account of it is our Gospel lesson for this coming Sunday.

It happens just after Jesus’ baptism. He goes and he spends a long time out in the wilderness. And at the end of that time, a Tempter comes, offers him bread, offers to catch him if he jumps off the temple, offers him all the kingdoms of the world.

Jesus turns it all down.

And what strikes me as I read it this week is the fact that the Tempter actually quotes Scripture in giving Jesus that invitation to jump off of the roof of the Temple because “the angels will bear you up lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

Scripture gets used in so many different ways in the world. It gets used to tell us to do good things; it gets used to tell us to do bad things. It’s been used to undergird racism, sexism, slavery, oppression; so many evils in the world.

I’m thinking that we have to be exceptionally careful as we read these ancient and precious and, yes, sacred texts to make sure that the voice that we are hearing is the one that was intended by the original writer: the voice of God, of a loving, benevolent, gracious God – and not the voice of the Tempter, which invites us to power, to wealth, to ease.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on February 26, 2017

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