Sunday, May 28, 2017

baptation notes

We might  suggest that the same three temptations Jesus faced in Chapter 4 were

              recast and
                            remixed throughout the rest of the gospel, at different points in Jesus' life...

-the baptism of Jesus  (chapter 3) and the temptations (chapter 4) should be read together as one literary unit or paragraph
Especially helpful is the suggestion by Donald Kraybill ("The Upside Down Kingdom") and Ray Van Der Laan  that throughout  his earthly life, Jesus was revisited by remixes of the original three temptations ("testations" ) of the devil"in chapter 4.

Kraybill provocatively proffers the following taxonomy of the temptations; suggesting that any later temptation Jesus faced (or we face) is at heart in one of these three spheres:
1=  Bread into stones: Economic 

2=Jump from temple and test God:Religious 

 3=Own all kingdoms: Political

Henri Nouwen ("in the Name of Jesus" )breaks it down this way:

1=  Bread into stones:  temptation to be relevant

 2=Jump from temple and test God:   temptation to be spectacular  

3=Own all kingdoms: Political  temptation to be rule over

So, it may be useful to plot out various temptations along your life timeline, and ask which of Jesus' temptation are each is  tied to.

SO..if every temptation can be filed under one of the three categories:

Economic    Religious   Political..


Relevant    Spectacular   Rule over

..under which does  any temptation (sexual etc) occur?
How might virtually all temptations (the three Jesus faced, or others you could name) be fundamentally economic?  Kraybill, you'll remember, calls the bread temptation "economic," but how might any/all others temptations trace to this root?
HINT: We noted that he term economics comes from the 
Ancient Greekοκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") from οκος (oikos, "house") + νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold)".[1

Note  that the baptism of Jesus  (chapter 3) and the temptations (chapter 4) should be read together as one literary unit or paragraph ( a "coupling" or "particularization") as two items connected.

Remember how important repeated words this case,  "SON":

-The segue is direct..."Then after his baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit  into the desert for temptation by the devil."  (Matt. 4:1)

-In light of that, ask In what other ways do the baptism and temptation connect?
How does baptism prepare for temptation?


The devil's text ,

you are the son of God.."

might better be translated
(according to the Greek word used) as:

you are the son of God.."

What difference might it make?  Is the devil wondering/questioning asking Jesus if he is son of God?  Or is he assuming it; he and Jesus both know that he is...and thus "Since you are the Son of God, what kind of ways can I tempt you to use/abuse that Sonship?"
Van Der lann, in "Jesus Our Desert – The Three Temptations") proposes that the three "temptations" Jesus met in Matthew 4 were the same three  that show up  (repackaged, revisited) throughout Jesus' timeline on earth...right up to, and especially including the cross (as in, not avoiding it) .Several examples:

·                     Jesus put God ahead of family ("Who are my brothers and sisters?"  "Whoever loves father and mother more than me cannot be my disciple."-Matthew fact, how many ways can you find in that whole chapter  where Jesus re-encounters versions of one of the testations?
·                     When people reported Herod wanted to kill him, he was not concerned (Luke 13)
·                     When people wanted to make him king by force, he walked away  (John 6:15)
·                     When the crowds were hungry, the disciples  wanted Jesus to feed them.  He refused (Feeding of the Multitude)
·                     The "get behind me, Satan" comment to Peter when Peter suggested Jesus should bypass the cross (Matthew 18)
·                     "go ahead and use Your power; the cross is going to hurt" 

 The  Van Der Laan video offered lots of help on how the Testations of Jesus are related to/equated to/hyperlinked to the Testations of Israel in Exodus, Numbers. Deuteronomy.  It is no accident that all three testations of Jesus were found in different form in the OT, as well as the Scriptures Jesus used to counter the testations.

Though it is obvious who "The Son (of God)" is in Matthew (Jesus), unless we know the literary/historical background, we miss that in the Old Testament, that phrase is used for Israel/God's people.   (see  Exodus 4:22-23 and especially the way Matt 2:15 quotes Hosea 11:1)

Now we realize that God tested/the devil tempted the first "SON" in a similar way.
Jesus the Son succeeds (in 40 days) in "reversing the curse" that Israel the Son inherited by not passing it (in 40 years).

Jesus is not only (in a sense) the
New Moses,
 but (in a sense) the New Israel
 (for help on that important point, see this  article,
and this). 

VanDer Laan suggested that the heart of Jesus' "success" was consistently  and persistently keeping the "Shema,"   and not caving into a (mis)use of power.  This is the "binder" of the testations: Love God and neighbor.Thus

Q).Who is Jesus in Matthew?
A.) The One who, unlike Israel, passed the wilderness testations by loving God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength....and refusing to give into using "right-handed"  (a la Capon) power.
VanderLaan prefers to translate "tests" instead of "temptations."
You have seen that I have coined the word "testations"  It would seen that in Scripture that God tests, and the devil tempts...and sometimes both are going on simultaneously. 

HERE are some helpful questions you might think about if you want to pursue this topic::

·                     1)What were the three temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11, Compare any ways Mark's account,  Mark 1:12-13  and  Luke's account, Luke 4:1-13 differ, and suggest any reasons why.
·                     2)How does Nouewen summarize the three temptations(1=to be relevant  2=to be spectacular 3=to rule over). H?  How do you (use your own words)?
·                     3)How do the three temptations connect to the historical and literary world of the Hebrew ("Old')Testament?
·                     4)How do the three temptations connect to the contemporary world of Jesus and the disciples?
·                     5)List and discuss several possible ways that versions of the three temptations reoccur and are revisited  throughout Jesus' life in Matthew's gospel?  (How is Jesus tested/tempted elswhere in Matthew, and how are the temptations versions of a similar one (two, or three) that he faced in the original temptation passage?  (see Kraybill, p. 34)
·                     6)What are the three core temptations you face, and how have they revisited you  throughout your timeline?  How would you categorize them using Nouwen's categories?  Using the three categories of the "Shema"  (heart/mind/might) a la  Vander Laan'?  Using Kraybill's three categories (1=Economic 2=Religious  3=Political; see chapters 1-4 of "Upside Down Kingdom")
·                     7)What have you learned about passing these tests/resiisting these temptations?
·                     8)What does all of this  (the Matt 4 Scripture, and testing/tempting) have to do with the Kingdom?
·                     9)Discuss how the passages that deal with Jesus not being immune to temptation( Hebrews 2:17-18Hebrews 4:14-16,  and Hebrews 5:7-9) affect your views of  "Who is Jesus?" and of Jesus' divinity and humanity.

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