July 13, 2010

Jesus' time with Satan, Pt.2

After fasting, either on day 41, or perhaps some time on day 42, Jesus would have begun traveling west, towards the Jordan, and then on home to Nazareth.  He also must've begun eating regularly if he was hoping to make more than one or two miles a day.  Fasting can be very healthy, but it doesn't give someone the calories to walk for six days.

It was therefore some time after Satan's temptation about stones that Jesus engaged with the devil again, in the story we know.  Reappearing at some point, because he probably hadn't been visibly hovering for so much down-time, the devil now made it clear that he wanted Jesus to follow him.  So he called out, or he motioned, and then Jesus began walking after his adversary.  Whether Satan stayed visible or appeared at each turn in the road, the enemy made it clear that he wanted Jesus to walk to Jerusalem.

Whatever the meta-mechanics, Satan led Jesus up to Jerusalem.  This may have gone on for several hours at least, if not more than a day.  (For comparison, Jericho near the Jordan was one full day's walk from Jerusalem, but Jesus would more likely have been further north to begin with, and perhaps further east.)

After reaching Jerusalem, Jesus made his way up to the tops of the colonnades, to the 'parapets' which surrounded Jerusalem's Temple courtyard.  Looking down from this 'pinnacle' of Mount Zion, far down to the ground level below (the Tyropoean valley, if to the east, or the Kidron valley, if to the west), nearly anyone would have experienced a brief dizzying moment.  Either fall would have meant instant death for a man.

At this opportunity, the devil challenged the Lord once again.  If you are really the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written that he will give his angels orders about you, to protect you, and you won't even stub your foot on a rock.  This time, instead of suggesting a direct use of divine power, Satan insinuated that God and his angels could prove Jesus' identity for him.

Once again, Jesus calmly recited a scripture he'd learned long ago, again from Deuteronomy.  This time, Jesus let a bit more of his own mysterious identity peek through.  It is written, you must not tempt the Lord your God.

Once again, Satan probably left Jesus for a while, at this point.  Not long thereafter, Jesus would naturally have climbed down from Jerusalem's balcony, made his way down from the Temple, and begun walking north, back to Nazareth.

He was still recovering from a forty day fast, walking as much as twenty miles a day.  He must have been exhausted, and he must have passed moments of wondering if the adversary would show up again.

As it turned out, Jesus would see the devil at least once more - that we know of - during this journey.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Ron Krumpos said...

While researching various views on "conscience," I read "Jung on Evil" (Princeton University Press 1995). He offers an unimpassioned view of evil which is totally dependent on humans.

The editor, Murray Stein, writes: When humans adopt a more disinterested viewpoint, they transcend the categories of good and evil to an extent and view human life, human behavior and human motivation from a vertex that sees it all as "just so." Human beings love each other and we hate each other. We sacrifice for each other and destroy each other. We are noble and base. And all of this belongs to human nature. The judgments we make about good and evil are bound to be biased by our own interests and tilted if favor of our pet tendencies and traits.

In my e-book at http://www.suprarational.org I wrote a short paragraph:
Evil and deliverance. Many orthodox religions personify evil as Satan, the Devil, Iblis, Mara, or other demonic forces. Most mystics hold us responsible for our own evils, not an external source. Some say that evil exists only in rejection or lack of awareness of good, or to balance good in the apparent dualities of this life...not in unitive eternal life. Mystics have to eliminate personal wrongs to realize divine oneness. Deliverance comes by overcoming the selfishness of our egos, ignorance of our minds and stubbornness of our senses.

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