What is interesting in the passage today — the temptation of Christ — is what he was not tempted with. There was no offering of women or men to be his bed partners. There was no issue with wealth. The temptations related to power, and surrounding these people will lie, steal, bribe and entrap.
Today’s example comes via a local journalist. In NZ, push polling is not accepted: so the Greens, who have admitted to ripping off the taxpayer (that leader had to resign) are doing it.
The Greens have released the results of some phone canvassing which they’ve referred to as an “internal poll” that claims to show them ahead in Nelson.
But it is not a poll just like there wasn’t a fiscal hole.
It’s a set of numbers Green volunteers have gathered, with no way of checking them and media should be ashamed of reporting them as a “poll”.
It is not scientific, they have not released the raw data or methodology.
The first “question” is particularly dodgy: “Which candidate, between the Greens’ Matt Lawrey & Labour’s Rachel Boyack, do you think will beat Nick Smith?”
Now obviously this does not give voters the option of saying “Nick Smith will win” and is more of a push-poll.
It is actually “fake news” from the Greens.
It is a blatant bid to get publicity and get Labour voters to vote tactically and try and get Lawrey over the line to give them a lifeline in case they don’t make 5 per cent.
Doing a deal with Labour and getting Nick Smith out of Parliament is not a bad idea from a Green perspective.
But a stunt releasing some dodgy numbers is not the way to do it.
The temptations Christ faced are the temptations that those who lead face: those who are called to power, or want power above all. Satan has never been stupid, and did not waste energy (rhetorical or dialectical) in tempting Christ with what he was not vulnerable to.
Before we go there, consider that God was allowed to be tempted. He was driven by the spirit into the wilderness, and he had fasted all his reserves away. being without food for forty days.
Then the temptations began.
1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered,
“It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying 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.’”
7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
“and serve only him.’”
11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
The first temptation was food. To supply himself. Not for others, but to use his gifts to meet the needs of his body. He was starving. If you are god, you should be able to do this: you fed Elijah in the wilderness, now feed yourself.
But our faith is not the provision of a corn dole to the citizenry. The Romans did that, oppressing their empire to do so.
The second temptation is to do acts of spectacular power. You can step out if faith and live. You can take over from the priests and reform the faith by acts of power. This is what the Antichrist is prophesized to do. and you have more power. Besides, here is the scriptural proof text.
But Christ came to establish the kingdom of God, and conquer death.
The third temptation is the most subtle. Satan will give Christ all the kingdoms of the world, which he can do, for the fealty of Christ.
And he replies you will not tempt the LORD. You will not put him to ransom.
Many, if not all politicians, will corrupt themselves to rule one nation. The very best leaders we have are those who know they serve for a term, and then walk away. They have agendas of preservation and reform.
Those who want power and power alone will do what it takes, even to electing a new population, to ensure they remain there. It is much easier to do this with pretty lies.
But our duty is to the truth, and the truth is Christ.
- Another reason not to tempt Christ with a supermodel: when you are that starved no one is interested. You want food, because food is what you need.