Sunday, October 13, 2013

Battle in the Wilderness: The Proof (Luke 4:9)

And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; (Luke 4:9 NASB)

Before going into the wilderness, Jesus had been baptized by John. You will remember that, as He came up out of the water, the Spirit of God came in the form of a dove and rested on His shoulder. The Voice of God spoke from heaven and proclaimed that Jesus was God's Son. Two parts of the Holy Trinity manifested to acknowledge the third. Jesus already knew He was the Son of God. After His baptism, the seekers  following John knew it. too. 

God Himself had, by His manifestations at the river, chosen the site and direction of Christ's ministry. He had come for the people with hearts that seek for God. He was not sent to do flashy signs and wonders at the temple. He came and encountered people where they lived and worked. He became a part of people's lives. Jesus demonstrated a personal relationship with God by His every day encounters. 

Satan, almost certainly hoping for a public debacle and speedy end to the work of redemption by Jesus's suicidal jump off the temple wall, suggested He leap off the temple.  The tempter was goading Him to prove Himself as the Son of God by a foolish act. As if the affirmation by the river had not proved Him the Son of God, or had not been impressive enough, the devil asks for another sign. "Prove it!" the devil dared Jesus. 

It's a very human response to want proof. As a physician, I want a well designed, double blinded controlled study to "prove" new theories and demonstration the effectiveness of new treatments. Knowing how easy it is to be deceived, we want to be sure, don't we? 

In the Christian life, however, faith requires that we believe without seeing. That sounds pretty radical, doesn't it? It is true, but in that believing, we have a personal relationship with a loving God who actively involves Himself in our lives. Although we don't see Him, we can certainly see Him at work in our lives. We don't "see" the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that the Spirit gives us, but we can certainly recognize them when they are there. 

Jesus knew that the work God had already done was manifestation enough. He knew that the relationship He came to personalize was enough. He knew that the work of redemption He would do on the cross would be enough. Enough. Enough has been done, and response, not more doing, is required. 

The question for us is whether or not we accept the proof that has already been given, whether or not we are enjoying the relationship that has already been offered. 

Pray today that we and our children will not require a self-devised, self-centered proof of God but will be willing to accept the proof He has already given us and will quickly recognize the peace and joy (as well as all the fruit of the Spirit) that only relationship with our Lord can bring.