July 16, 2010

Jesus' time with Satan, Pt.5

The mountaintop worship-dare is the most dramatic, most audacious, most blasphemous temptation accounted to Satan in all of scripture.  Apparently, it was also the worst part of all the testing he'd given Jesus since before the fast ended.  Without question, it was this final suggestion which prompted Jesus, at last, to rebuke Satan and banish him from his presence.

Leave, Enemy.  It is written, You must worship the Lord your God and Him only will you serve.

With that, Satan left.  At that point, each Gospel narrative moves on.  But was that the end of the story?

We have no account in the Gospels that Satan ever came near Jesus again until the week of the Lord's death, four years later.  But since Mark's Gospel says there was testing of some sort going on during Jesus' fast (that is, before the three notable temptings) there is every chance the devil may have tried other temptations on Jesus at other times also.  Then again, he may not have.  We don't know.

For obvious reasons, these three temptations were memorable and dramatic enough to record.  I do wonder if Jesus debated telling the story, before it got passed along.  I also wonder what Jesus and/or his disciples may have left out.  Apparently, this much will have to be enough.

So, to finish the story...

When the devil departed for good, Jesus stayed on that mountain top for a while and received ministering angels.  That, also, may have come as a major surprise.  Whatever comforting service and counsel they offered him, Jesus must have been most comforted simply from knowing that God his Father had sent them to him, to reassure him.  He must have recalled the same comfort he'd felt when the Father had spoken aloud to him and his cousin the Baptizer, back there at the river, over six weeks before.

So, after spending some time on that mountain, with the angels, and surely doing whatever it is Jesus did when he was simply alone with the Father - the son of God set out from that mountain and finished his long journey home.  

Back in Nazareth at last, after such an ordeal, Jesus very much needed to rest more completely.  Soon he would begin making new preparations for all that he would soon embark upon, at the upcoming Passover.

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