The final temptation in Luke takes Jesus up to the pinancle of the temple and Devil says, “Throw yourself down”… Why? Your Father has promised to protect you (even qouting the Psalms)! To this Jesus again qoutes Deuteronomy, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (Deut. 6:16).
We have taken the temptations and made connections with our current life. Stone into bread stands as an example of our desire for more and more. Worship the Devil to gain authority over the world stands as an example of our willingness to do evil to gain popularity and power. This final temptation points to our lack of trust.
The problem of evil in the world is often cited as a reason to not believe in our God, who is good. And though we point toward freedom, for many of us suffering causes our faith to stumble. Sometime it is our own suffering, “how could let this happen God, I tithe, I go to chruch…” Sometimes it is the video of starving children in third world contries, “they are so helpless and You have promised to defend the weak…”
The more we think and ponder, the more the situation seems impossible and the less we believe God could pull bread out of thin air. Sure maybe He did it a long time ago, but not here and now…
My friend Jeremy is in Iraq. He is working with the Kurdish people as a missionary. While there he discovered hand made shoes, that nearly everyone wears. So he bought a pair. These shoes opened doors, “an American wearing klash!” Then the shoes became an avenue of ministry. He sells them worldwide, paying fair wages and using the rest to fund heart surgeries for Iraqi children.
Recently he meet with an important leader. Very much a man with armed gaurds, holding great power and influence. The man had called on Jeremy to help with a sick child. Yet during the meeting it came forward that the hospital where the children were sent was in Israel. This set the man off and refused to even entertain the thought… but my friend challenged the man asking, “what is the greater sin in the eyes of God: to let a child suffer and die to preserve one’s own reputation or to become a friend with one’s enemy?” These words set off the room and Jeremy was ushered out.
Yet in the coming weeks the man called Jeremy back and said he would move forward to help the child. More the man wanted to discuss Jesus the Messiah with Jeremy… Amazing.
As I look at the life of Jeremy I wonder how we can arrive there. Aaron recently said he was going into the ministy (see the next blog) and I wonder how we can all have a life of ministry (whether it is on the mission field, in a church, or at any job where God calls us to minister!)??? As I look around at lives that change the world I do see the story book childhood. I do not see people destined for greatness. Instead I see people who were faithful. We the devil tempted them to not trust, they rebuked him, and moved onto ministry.
This faithfulness, to continue walking EAST even when doubts arise, produce miracles. Knowing Jeremy it is hard to imagine him sitting with Arabs and having them ask to know more about Jesus. Yet, miracles come to the faithful. To those willing to set doubt aside and join the in the river of salvation as it flows to the world!!!