Wednesday, 10 February 2010

LUKE (Chapter 4) - Jesus, God’s High Priest, tried and despised by many, but... accepted by others


God's High Priest tried
As we know the Lord Jesus Christ is the revelation of the NEW MAN in his perfection. He is the First Citizen of the NEW CREATION and as such is also the High Priest of God. The NEW CREATION begins in us when we are reconciled with God, on the basis of our faith in the dear blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, and when we – in and by the Holy Spirit – come into relationship with the risen Christ, in order to live a priestly life, a life that is in complete service to God.
The Gospel after Luke reveals both to us, Jesus as the High Priest Himself, as well as the royal priesthood, namely Christians as priests of the most high God, whom He bought from sin with His sacrificial blood (His blood shed for our sins as an offering [a ransom]), by His excellent grace. We got to know the first three chapters as a good and necessary basis of the repentant life God wants to establish in man. It is God, Who comes to us and calls us to repentance. And it is this repentance, together with the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified, which, as we have seen, forms the gateway to this NEW LIFE in God. Now we will look at this NEW, pure, priestly LIFE in all its facets, which God will give to those people, that, in repentance and faith, long for it intensively here. Long to share His death and resurrection (see Romans 6:3-5), which Jesus' baptism in the Jordan (river) points to. We will first look at the trial of Jesus, the High Priest, Himself; thereafter at His rejection by the one, and acceptance by the other. In the next chapter we will be able to look at the royal priesthood; these are all Christians who followed Him in His death and resurrection, and who could walk after Him by the inward working power of His relationship.
Jesus Christ, our High Priest, after He was baptized with the Holy Spirit, was tried; as also each priest of God, when he must stand in his (divine) ministry, is tried; namely herein: whether he be willing to do God's will in his life. Of a priest it is demanded that he count all of his own will and life as nothing, in order to be able to do that wonderful will of God in his life. All of one's own will, all hobbies, all desires of one's own, the social job; in short: all we have and are, what we as a human being want and desire; all these must be laid on God's altar of (burnt) offering. God must be able to do with his priest what He, in His sovereign (almighty; independent of any higher authority) Love, wants and desires. Do not we pray: "Thy will be done in heaven, as also in the earth"? Beloved, this then is God's demand for a priestly ministry, in any degree and of any nature. Hence, in regard to this demand, a priest is tried by God again and again. We are confronted with the choice again and again whether to choose the (sinful) enjoyments of the world or His pure will and service, because He calls us to a voluntary priesthood in His purity and holiness. Should we fail in our choice, and if we choose to do our own will, then God will not continue with us until we will have learned to lay off this stubbornness; until we humbly begged the Lord to deliver us from all reasons which cause us to be stubborn... Let us learn to obey and fulfill His will heartily, then we can proceed like that spiritual racer from Philippians 3:14 in increasing revelation of this NEW LIFE in our everyday life; ready to lay down all that hinders us in the race to that goal in Christ.
4 verse 1: "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,..."
It is the Holy Ghost Who leads us into trials and puts us opposite the foe! The enemy tempts us with all the "beauties" of this world, and the Holy Spirit puts us before the choice whether to obey God's Word or... to choose that which is the enemy's. After all, He calls a voluntary people that is willing to serve faithfully and as a priest, being completely in God's service.
4 verse 2a: "(Jesus) Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing..."
For forty days Jesus was tempted by the devil! God Himself allowed this to happen. The High Priest, God's own Son, had to prove His faithfulness and willingness in His service as High Priest.
4 verse 2b: "...and when they (the forty days of fasting) were ended, he afterward hungered."
Here is a forty-day fast, prompted by the Holy Spirit! Jesus' fasting was proof of His desire to only fulfill the will of the Father in His life. One is only moved to such fasting by the work of God's Spirit. Then all hunger disappears; then the spirit experiences an intense relationship with the Holy Spirit, and we will experience His sweet dominion over us. Thus it was with Christ.
"Sacrifice and offering thou (God) didst not desire; mine (Jesus') ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I (i.e. Jesus), Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:6-8). Then the Spirit suddenly takes away His strength from Jesus; the Spirit's protection falls away, and the Man Jesus is set before the tempter; as a result of a forty-day fast He now feels a gnawing hunger in His body, and the tempter comes to Him with all the fullness of his demonic cunning and force of temptation. This temptation really was a trial for Jesus! He was truly Man; He was the second Adam. But, He did endure and overcome; He proved to really want to serve God the Father, and not Himself, not in any respect!
He proved to be willing to be God's Servant unto the fulfillment of the sacrifice on the cross, the offering of His own life! So Jesus knew intense hunger that hurt his body! And in that situation satan[1] came to Him.
4 verse 3: "And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread."
In other words: "Use Your creative power if You are God's Son; make from this stone bread to satisfy your hunger; what stops You?"
4 verse 4: "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."
The Lord Jesus beat off this temptation. No, He did not want to make bread out of that stone. He first had to continue this fast until God told Him that He could stop; He wanted to live by the Word of God only; to be completely obedient to the will of God. This was the temptation of Jesus after the body. He was put before the choice to either continue serving God or to give in to His stomach's cry. A temptation of the body with the one is whether to give in to the stomach,
with the other to a different physical desire, against God's will.
Will we resist him when he comes to us in his satanic power of temptation, as Jesus resisted the devil herein? Will we let God's pure will take the upper hand in our life or... will we give in to the (strong) desire of our senses, of our body, when temptation makes it hot for us? Whom or what will we choose then? Let us follow the example of our High Priest and say, that man shall only (truly and eternally) live by every Word of God! Jesus was not to be tempted on the physical level, and the devil departed to prepare a new attack of satanic temptation.

CLICK HERE if you want to read this study (Chapter 4) – that is to long for the Blog.

By E. van den Worm

[1] We write the word “satan” not with a capital, as it is not a name, but a word meaning opponent or adversary, accuser.