Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Who We Are

How come opportunity knocks only once,
but temptation beats down the door every day?

In this Sunday's Gospel reading Jesus goes out after his baptism by John for forty days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness to prepare for his ministry.

In John Milton's Paradise Regained, the poet retells the story of Christ's temptation. Milton presents the three temptations of the story in the Gospels but with embellishments.
First, the devil approaches Jesus disguised as an elderly shepherd searching for a lost sheep. The shepherd beseeches Jesus to change the stones to bread, not just so that Jesus can feed himself, but also so that Jesus can feed the poverty-stricken people who live in this isolated, rural area. Of course, Jesus recognizes the shepherd's true identity and does not fall for the trick.

Later, Satan tries to convince Jesus that he should obtain glory and also be a king, since God the Father is a powerful king. Jesus explains that the time for his kingdom has not yet come and that the pursuit of glory could lead to downfall, as it did for Satan.

Satan also shows Jesus a vision of Rome and says that Jesus can expel the emperor if Jesus draws from the devil for help. Jesus responds that maybe he should expel the devil, who has made the emperor the way he is in the first place.

Finally, the devil troubles Jesus with disturbing dreams. When Jesus awakens, the devil says that the dreams portend what awaits Jesus if he keeps obeying the Father. Jesus can free himself from it all by throwing himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple, but Jesus does not give in to this temptation, either. Instead, Satan plummets back into hell.
Anna Carter Florence suggests that the text
warns us against “. . . the temptation to have faith in what we do rather than who we are.” The devil tempts Jesus by saying, “If you are the Son of God, then do something.” In times when we are famished, we are quick to forget that we are the baptized, God's beloved, and we start to think we need to prove ourselves. The devil tempts us to think that God's love is conditional instead of unconditional, that we need to earn grace, instead of remembering God's mercy and giving thanks.
Jesus answered the temptation saying:
"One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."
"Do not put the Lord your God to the test." and
"Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him."



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