Thursday, December 10, 2015
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you”,
and “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ’
Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ’ [Matthew 4:5-7]
Today's word brought two images to mind. The first was the risk-taking that teenagers and business men are known for. The second was the the devil's dare to Jesus.
Even as a young man, I was not found near a flying trapeze and my business acumen has proven to be less than stellar. I was brought up in a safe family, where my parents found it safer to keep us out of water than to teach us how to swim. Overall, I don't have a good track record with risk.
As for the temptation story, well, I imagine we've all taken some risks for pure selfishness, to prove one thing or another to someone or another, to whom you probably really didn't need to prove anything. And really, you don't see that story as being about the devil's dare to test God's favor, but that's pretty much what you have there. "C'mon, Jesus, you think you're the Messiah? Prove it! I dare you!" How many has heard, "Do you love me? Prove it" (among other temptations).
Somewhere between being able to risk for the betterment of family, community, or self and not falling for a bullying dare lies wisdom.
When I find that sweet spot, I'll be sure to write about it here. For tonight, this is all I've got.