What I’m Thinking: Change the Frame

When Jesus faced the temptations of the devil, he never quite answered those questions directly. He always changed their underlying assumptions. He refused to be put into a box.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the fourth chapter of Luke’s Gospel (Luke 4:1-13). It’s the beginning of Lent this Wednesday, Ash Wednesday. On the first Sunday of Lent, it’s like Transfiguration Sunday: we always get the same story, if from a different gospel.

On the first Sunday in Lent, it’s the story of Jesus’ temptation by the devil, for forty days and forty nights after his baptism by John in the Jordan River.

There are three temptations. The first is to turn stones into bread. The second is to worship the devil in order to receive authority over all the kingdoms of the world. And the third is to throw himself down off of the roof of the temple, because, after all, it has been given to the angels to protect the Messiah, the Chosen One of God.

Here’s the striking thing about Jesus’ response to each one of these: each time, Jesus turns the question. The question is no longer that which was posed by the satan, the advocate or the prosecutor; each time, it is a turn of the question. Jesus brings in something else from outside that says that he will not accept the framing that the devil puts before him.

We are so limited in our imaginations of what the world is like. We so often accept the framings that others create for us, framings that end up having us believing that good cannot triumph, that evil must, that in any situation there is no way to change things and make them better.

Jesus refused to accept that. He always stepped outside of the box in which the devil would have placed him. And if we are to successfully follow Jesus, then that is his invitation to us. Let’s not accept the boxes others create for us.

Let’s step out into freedom and discipleship.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on March 3, 2019

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