Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bethany Bullet - March 15, 2011

Something OLD and something NEW confronts us in worship weekly. During the season of Lent we will explore how these two texts intersect.

Please read in your Bibles the verses below, or click on the verse to link to that passage:

These passages present us with the same antagonist, the OLD foe, the devil himself. Whether wrapped about a tree in the most succulent of all places (Eden), or resting on a rock in the barren wastelands (the Judean wilderness in his natural form), the enemy is the same. The devil’s targets are equally to be prized, the first man/woman - cast in the image of God and the perfect man - who is the image of the invisible God, (Philippians 2), Jesus.

The first couple faces this enemy on God’s turf. This is where He takes His evening constitutional and walks with His creation in the cool of the day. God is manifestly comfortable here, He chats with people in intimate relationship. In the NEW day, the Only Begotten Son faces the devil on the “devil’s turf”, so to speak. God, in Jesus, has given up comfort. The sun is high and hot, He who is the Light is Himself without shelter and without food or drink. This is the barren wilderness, a land forsaken; therefore it is no surprise this is where the devil sets his trap.

In both the OLD and the NEW the devil rings the bell. He wasn’t invited. He wasn’t sought out. He just popped right in and spoke right up. The foe begins by seeking to sow doubt in the first couple. “Did God really say?” The first targets weaken. The venom of the serpent coursing through their veins; Adam and Eve in the end rely on their own words in addition to that which God has spoken. “We can’t even touch it!”

Not so, in the NEW. Now if either target had the right to offer new information clearly it was the later as it is His word that created and informed the former. Yet, rather than speak on His own authority, rather than offer His own correction and commentary; Jesus simply voices the words of the prophets: “It is written!” In the OLD, their weapon of choice was their own voice; Jesus’ was the Word of the LORD not just once but thrice.

The OLD Satanic foe worked his dreadful woe and Adam and Eve ate.
  • Why? Was it because like the Son of Man they were hungry? Doubtful, look around, fruits abound in the garden and they are free to eat.
  • Why? Is it because the fruit of that tree was better than any other? Doubtful, while it was pleasing to the eye and some fruit may be more attractive than others it is all fairly pleasing to the eye when hanging from a limb correct? This isn’t like what hangs on the fridge vs. what hangs in the Louvre correct!
  • Why do they eat? IT WAS DESIRABLE for gaining wisdom. They desired to gain wisdom and they desired to be like God.

In the NEW the same OLD foe is on the prowl once again. This time his prey - prays and fasts. Jesus fasts precisely because He has become one of us. Fasting is associated with repentance. Jesus is not repenting. He has neither sin nor guilt personally, but He will associate Himself with those, like Adam & Eve, and you & me who do. Jesus will take on Himself the role of resisting temptation before He takes on the role of suffering for our failure to resist.

Adam in the garden (God’s turf) falls, Jesus in the wilderness (the “devil’s turf”) stands firm. When it comes to resisting temptation the “Upper Hand” is NOT WHERE you stand but WHAT you stand on: God’s Word and Strength.

So now too, as in days of OLD, in this NEW day, God grants us strength to flee temptation in His Word.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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