Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Romans 5:1-11 Bible Study

Romans 5:1-11
5:1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

5:2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

In one of H. G. Wells’ books, there is the story of a businessman whose mind was so tense and strained that he was in serious danger of a complete nervous and mental breakdown. His doctor told him that the only thing that could save him was to find the peace that fellowship with God can give. ‘What!’ he said, ‘to think of that, up there, having fellowship with me! I would as soon think of cooling my throat with the Milky Way or shaking hands with the stars!’ God, to him, was alien and untouchable and beyond any experience.

Writer Rosita Forbes tells of finding shelter one night in a Chinese village temple because there was nowhere else to sleep. During the night, she lay awake in the darkness with only the light of the moon and stars.  In that dim light she could see the images of the gods of the temple.  On the face of every image or statue there was a look of anger and hate.

But in contrast, here is our God, whom we know through Jesus Christ, who is the loving Creator and Savior. 

It is through Christ that we experience love and justification.  And through love and justification we have “access” – a word (which in Greek is “prosagoge”) that raises for us two images.

(1) It is the word normally used for introducing or ushering someone into the presence of royalty; and it is the word for the approach of the worshipper to God. It is as if Paul was saying: ‘Jesus ushers us into the very presence of God, the King.’  The King of Kings.  Imagine being summoned to the throne of the King – and since we have no King, imagine being summoned to the White House – and since most of us are never going to be summoned to the White House, imagine instead the one common experience we have either had personally, experienced through our children’s conduct, or lived in fear of happening – being summoned to the office of the principal!  When that door is opened we might expect terror and judgment and punishment, but what we find is grace.  There is no condemnation, no judgment, no vengeance, but the underserved grace, love and peace of God.

(2) But “access” in the Greek language brings to mind another picture. In late Greek, it is the word for the place where ships come in to port.  My last church was on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, and sometimes we would see the waters full of boats – recreational sailing boats and shrimp boats.  Occasionally all of these boats would head to the harbor, which was in the safety of the bay between the island and the mainland.  It was home. Safety.  Security.  Especially when the waves were churning up and a storm was coming. 

We have “access” is that we have peace and a home with God.

When I worked with the Department of Corrections, I remember being with one inmate who had done something wrong in the prison – I don’t remember what it was, but he was going to have to serve more time.  In prison at that time, every inmate automatically had a percentage of his sentence chopped off – so if you were sentence to 6 years, you thought in terms of having to serve 3 years.  You didn’t think of 6 years – just the 3.  As long as you behaved, you got out at the end of three years.  That’s called good behavior, but it enables the prison system to have more control over the inmates.  It costs too much money to put an inmate on trial for an offense committed in the prison, so the Warden and the staff can make the decision on their own to tell the inmate that he now has to serve another 6 months or a year – you aren’t really adding time, you are just taking away some of the early release.  But the inmate looks at it as adding more time.

I remember this one inmate just weeping uncontrollably when we told him he was going to have to spend another 6 months in prison.  He kept sobbing, “home, home, I just want to go home.”

Home is a good place for many of us, and to have access to God is to be freed from prison and for us to go home.

5:3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,

5:4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

5:5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

We have peace with God, but we have no peace in this world.

Life is hard. 

Knowing this, Paul has this wonderful passage.

suffering produces endurance,

5:4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

5:5 and hope does not disappoint us.

The word he uses for suffering is thlipsis, which literally means pressure.

All kinds of things may press in upon a Christian – want and difficult circumstances, sorrow, persecution, unpopularity and loneliness. All that pressure, says Paul, produces character.

When I was a kid, one of the things that Superman would sometimes do would be to take a piece of coal and squeeze it in his hand and he would produce out of that pressure, a diamond.

Some stars in the universe have an unusual amount of carbon.  They are interesting to look at or photograph because they tend to have a ruby color.  Because these starts contain so much carbon, as they die out their core, which is under so much pressure, become diamonds.  Imagine, a diamond in space that is as large as our planet!

Paul would have liked that, because he talks here of pressure – stress – trouble, creating character. 

Now between the stress and the character is endurance.  The word he uses for endurance is hupomone, which means more than endurance.

It means the spirit which can overcome the world; it means the spirit which does not passively endure but which actively overcomes the trials and tribulations of life.

We are currently mystified with the loss of the Malasian airliner, but several years ago there was another crash. 
Juliane Koepcke was a 17 year old German schoolgirl flying with her mother when their plane came apart in mid-air over Peru.  She plunged 10,000ft into the jungle still strapped into her seat. With a broken collar-bone and maggot invested wounds, she walked and swam through the jungle without food for 10 days until she found help, vultures circling overhead throughout.
She survived the horrific ordeal of the next ten days by using the little knowledge she had to very good effect. Despite the terrifying situation she found herself in, she stayed calm and adapted her mindset to survive the jungle terrain around her. She trusted her instinct and refused to give in, despite the often hopeless outlook of her situation...She kept her cool and she kept moving. She ignored the pain, and she stuck to her plan. And, ultimately, it was that indomitable survivor spirit that saved her life. Now there’s a girl with endurance!

When Beethoven was threatened with deafness, that most terrible of troubles for a musician, he said: “I will take life by the throat.” That is hupomone.

Hupomone is not the spirit which lies down and lets the floods go over it; it is the spirit which meets things head on and overcomes them.

This goes onto produce character.

The word he uses here is dokime. Dokime is used of metal which has been passed through the fire so that everything base has been purged out of it. When affliction is met with fortitude, out of the battle we emerge stronger, purer, better and nearer to God.

Character produces hope.

I find it interesting that hope is at the end of this list, not at the beginning.

For the Christian, hope is not “pie in the sky” illusion, it is comes from the experiences we have when there is no hope.

5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

5:7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.

5:8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

5:9 Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God.

5:10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.

5:11 But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

THE fact that Jesus Christ died for us is the final proof of God’s love.

There is a great story from the life of T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

In 1915, he was trekking across the desert with some Arabs.

They were in a desperate situation – no food and very little water.

The sand was in the wind and stinging the men terribly. 

Suddenly, someone said: ‘Where is Jasmin?’ Another said: ‘Who is Jasmin?’ A third answered: ‘That yellow-faced man from Maan. He killed a Turkish tax-collector and fled to the desert.’ The first said: ‘Look, Jasmin’s camel has no rider. His rifle is strapped to the saddle, but Jasmin is not there.’ A second said: ‘Someone has shot him on the march.’ A third said: ‘He is not strong in the head, perhaps he is lost in a mirage; he is not strong in the body, perhaps he has fainted and fallen off his camel.’ Then the first said: ‘What does it matter? Jasmin was not worth anything.’

And the Arabs hunched themselves up on their camels and rode on.

But Lawrence turned and rode back the way he had come.

After an hour and a half’s ride, he saw something against the sand. It was Jasmin, blind and mad with heat and thirst.

Lawrence lifted him up on his camel, gave him some of the last drops of precious water, and slowly plodded back to his company.

When he came up to them, the Arabs looked in amazement. ‘Here is Jasmin,’ they said, ‘Jasmin, not worth anything, saved at his own risk by Lawrence, our lord.’

That is a parable. It was not good people Christ died to save but sinners, not God’s friends but those who were hostile to him.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bible Study John 3:1-17

 These notes were prepared for the Wednesday 10 am Bible Study at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, Orlando FL.

Nicodemus is the perfect 21st Century man – it just happens that he shows up in the first century. 

He is a successful man from a business or community point of view.

He has a leadership position in the community.

He is spiritually open and curious, while also being very rational and intellectual.

In John’s Gospel he approaches Jesus directly, but at the same time, privately. 

3:1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.

This is an abrupt start to this story.  John does not tell us where this takes place, only that it is somewhere in Jerusalem during the Passover feast (John 2:23).

We are told only that Nicodemus is a Pharisee and a ruler.

Nicodemus was rich. When Jesus died, Nicodemus brought for his body ‘a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds’ (John 19:39).  In the Roman system of weights and measures, a pound equaled 12 ounces, so we’re really talking about 75 pounds – but we are still talking about an excessive amount – and only a wealthy man could have brought that.   

Nicodemus was a Pharisee. Many modern people have a negative view of Pharisees, but in many ways they were the best people in the whole country. It was a small and elite group - there were never more than 6,000 of them.  When they became Pharisees, people would take a pledge in front of three witnesses that they would dedicate their lives in observing every detail of the scribal law. The scribes who worked out the regulations; the Pharisees were devoted to keeping the regulations. The word Pharisee means the separated one; and the Pharisees separated themselves from ordinary life in order to keep every detail of the law of the scribes.

Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews, but he was more than a ruler.  The word is archon, which means he was a member of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was a court of seventy men.  It was a governing body for the Jews. Their power was limited by the occupation of the Romans, but still, among the Jews they had a lot of power.  In theory, the Sanhedrin had religious jurisdiction over every Jew in the world.

3:2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God."

In John’s Gospel, two of the major themes are light and darkness. 

Nicodemus comes to Jesus in a time of darkness and he is seeking spiritual light.

Later, as the story ends, Nicodemus disappears back into the darkness of the night.

One gets the feeling that Nicodemus is not committed, but open to Christ.  He does not want to be publically associated with Jesus – at least not at this point – perhaps for fear of losing some of his authority among the Jews.  Clearly, Nicodemus is being very cautious.

There may have been two reasons why Nicodemus came to Jesus at night:

(1)  Caution. Nicodemus quite frankly may not have wished to commit himself by coming to Jesus by day. For him to come to Jesus might have resulted in criticism of Nicodemus.
(2)  Night is a good time to study.  The Rabbis declared that the best time to study the law was at night when it could be done undisturbed. During the day, Jesus was surrounded by crowds of people all the time. 

3:3 Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."

Nicodemus admits that Jesus is sent and empowered by God.

Jesus responds by giving an answer to a question Nicodemus did not ask.

How does one who lives in darkness find spiritual light?  By being reborn.

Historically, most Christian denominations understood “born again” as a spiritual regeneration via baptism by water and the word.  This continues today with the Roman Catholic and to some degree the Anglican communities.  For many, however, being reborn is a conversion experience.

  1. What is your view of being reborn?
  2. What does this say of infant baptism?

3:4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?"

John loves these conversations in which Jesus is on one level and the other person is on another level.  The same happens with the woman at the well.  Jesus talks about living water and the woman at the well asks, “where is this living water, I’ve been coming to this well for years and I just see this one kind of water.”  It is much like a student in school trying to understand the teacher and being totally confused, so Nicodemus is confused by the words of Jesus. 

When Jesus said that it was necessary to be born anew, Nicodemus misunderstood him.  He was on a different level than Jesus.  This misunderstanding came from the difficulty in translating the Greek.  The Revised Standard Version translates the Greek word anothen  as anew. That word has three different meanings.
(1) It can mean from the beginning.
(2) It can mean again, in the sense of for the second time.
(3) It can mean from above, and, therefore, from God.

It is not possible for us to get all these meanings into any English word; and yet all three of them are in the phrase born anew. To be born anew is to undergo such a radical change that it is like a new birth; it is to have something happen to the soul which can only be described as being born all over again; and the whole process is not a human achievement, because it comes from the grace and power of God.

This phrase born anew, this idea of rebirth, runs all through the New Testament.

James speaks of God giving us birth by the word of truth (James 1:18).

Peter speaks of being born anew by God’s great mercy (1 Peter 1:3);

Peter also talks about being born anew not of perishable seed, but of imperishable (1 Peter 1:23).

Paul speaks of the Christian as dying with Christ and then rising to life anew (Romans 6:1–11). Paul also likes to talk about those who are recent converts to Christianity as being infants in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1–2).

This idea of rebirth is not entirely a radical new Christian invention.  It was known to the Jews.  When a person of another faith became a Jew and had been accepted into Judaism by a ceremony that included adult baptism, he was regarded as being reborn.

3:5 Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.

3:6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

When rebirth happens, we are born of water and the Spirit. There are two thoughts there. Water is the symbol of cleansing. Our past sins are forgiven and we are clean.

Also, the Spirit is the symbol of power. When Jesus takes possession of our lives, it is not only that the past is forgotten and forgiven; if that were all, we might well proceed to make the same mistakes over and over – the Spirit gives us power to live a Christian life.

3:7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.'

3:8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

3:9 Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?"

3:10 Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

3:11 "Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.

3:12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

3:13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

3:14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

For John, the bronze serpent in the wilderness, which healed those Israelites struck by plague, is a type of Christ whose death on the cross, in a similar paradox, gives healing and life (Num 21:4–9). All of this expresses God's radical love for the world that shows itself in the giving of the Son, even to death (3:16), a love that desires not condemnation and death but salvation and life (3:16–17).

3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

For many Christians, the gospel is summarized by the words in John 3:16.

Everyone who believes in Jesus will not perish but will have eternal life.

Some Christians, however, understand faith or “believing in Jesus” to be simply what one does with one’s mind. In John’s Gospel believing and doing are inseparable.

ALL great men and women have had their favorite texts, but this has been called ‘everybody’s text’.

How is this text important to your life?

3:17 "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

I have heard people say that verse 17 is as important as verse 16, but that it often gets overlooked, and it is overlooked.  Verse 16 tells us that God loves us, and verse 17 reminds us that God’s love does not condemn – his goal is to love.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bible Study Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11

These notes are for the Wednesday 10 am Bible Study at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, Orlando FL.  

No matter how you view Genesis – literal or not – the first great truth that shines through all interpretations is “God created.” 

The second is the universality of sin.  As Paul said in Romans, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” 

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden;

2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."

3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

The serpent is an interesting image.  “More crafty than any other wild animal.”  This is a play on words.   In Hebrew, the word for “crafty” is arum.  The word for naked is “arummim”.  The idea perhaps is that humans are exposed to the crafty elements of the world.

The ideas that the serpent is the devil has had a long history, but it may be just as well that we look at this serpent as any source of temptation – perhaps not evil itself, but any generic source of temptation.

The “apple” is a traditional fruit from the tree, but this is pure fiction.  Interesting perhaps, but fiction none the less.

In Europe, artists often depicted the forbidden fruit as an apple, largely because of a misunderstanding of the text.  In Latin, mălum evil and mālum, another Latin noun, means means apple. Incidentally, the larynx in the human throat being more noticeable in men it was frequently called an Adam’s Apple, from the ancient notion that it was the forbidden fruit sticking in Adam’s throat.

In the 1st and 2nd century, the forbidden fruit was often visualized as grapes.

When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling, Eve held a fig, and the fig was the visual representation of the forbidden fruit for a long time.

Other times the forbidden fruit was considered a pomegranate, mushroom, wheat and for a time, sex.  The sexual imagery sometimes is seen today, but that makes very little sense because the first command God issued to Adam and Eve was “be fruitful and multiply.”

As the serpent tempts Adam and Eve, I love the way this story is woven together in Genesis.

God says what in verse 16? 

You may freely eat of every tree….

Then there is one exception.

The tempter comes along and asks a question.  Doesn’t lie, but states a question, “Did God say, ‘you shall not eat from ANY tree in the garden.’”

3:2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;

3:3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.'"

Is that what God really said?

There is an addition that the woman makes “Nor shall you touch it.”  Temptation comes from adding to, as well as taking away, from God’s word.

3:4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die;

3:5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.

The woman is lured by the special fruit, its attraction as "good for food," its beauty as "a delight to the eyes," and its capacity "to make one wise" (3:6). She takes the fruit and then eats it (3:6).

Then the woman does something interesting – she gives it to her husband, who apparently was there all the time, but not involved in the conversation. 

I’m not sure why it is considered Adam’s sin, and why through one MAN all have sinned.  Seems that it should have been Eve’s sin and through one WOMAN all have sinned – but that doesn’t seem to be important to theologians.

3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

Notice that their eyes were not opened to some glorious, incredible knowledge.  They did not suddenly have the ability to speak Spanish, play the piano, or do complex mathematics.  They did not have great theological knowledge. 

Their eyes were opened simply to the mundane awareness that they were naked, ashamed, and now in need of clothing to hide behind.  In other words, they were open to their vulnerabilities.  They had been trusting in God, and now, knowing how vulnerable they were, looked to their own devices to cover their vulnerabilities. 

As a side point, my Dad was a textile executive.  He liked to say that according to the Bible, textiles was the oldest industry – he couldn’t very well say it was the oldest profession, because that was already taken by prostitution – but it was the oldest industry.  And history testifies that it is certainly among the oldest industries, dating back 5,000 years or more. 

Psalm 32
32:1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

In Genesis, man and woman try to cover their sins with fig leaves, but that does not work well.

Psalm 32 says, happy are those whose transgression is forgiven – whose sin is covered.

Only the forgiveness by Christ can truly cover our sins.

32:2 Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

One way that people respond to their own sins is to deceive themselves.  They try to convince themselves that they were innocent. 

I John says, “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will cleanse us from our sins.”

In verse 3 of the Psalm, we see a grieving person feeling the agony of one’s sin.

32:3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

32:4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

In verse 5, the person speaks out – and it is interesting to see to whom the person speaks and what he says:

32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Turning to Matthew

Matthew 4:1-11
4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

4:2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.

4:3 The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."

Again – as in Genesis, there is nothing here that is not true – it is just a question:  If you are the Son of God…”

The command is to turn the stones to become loaves of bread.  Later, Jesus does indeed multiply bread from a small amount of bread in order to feed many people.  Jesus has the power, but instead of misusing his power for selfish need, Jesus resists and responds with a quotation from the Old Testament.

4:4 But he answered, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

This quotation comes from Deuteronomy 8:3:
“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

Jesus answers temptation with Scripture.

4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple,

4:6 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.'"
4:7 Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

This time, the tempter beats Jesus to the punch, using Scripture as part of the temptation.  We can use the Bible in terrible ways – or should I say, “Misuse.”  How are some of the ways we might misuse the Bible today?

Mark 16:17-18:  And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Here is some recent news:

Middlesboro, Ky — Three days after pastor Jamie Coots died from a rattlesnake bite at church, mourners leaving the funeral went to the church to handle snakes.

Coots, who appeared on the National Geographic Channel’s “Snake Salvation,” pastored the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church founded by his grandfather in Middlesboro, Ky. The third-generation snake handler was bitten during a service on Feb. 15 and died later at his home after refusing medical help. Now his adult son, Cody Coots, is taking over the family church where snakes are frequently part of services.

Snake handling gained momentum when George Hensley, a Pentecostal minister working in various Southern states in the early 1900s, recounted an experience where, while on a mountain, a serpent slithered beside him. Hensley purported to be able to handle the snake with impunity, and when he came down the mountain he proclaimed the truth of following all five of the signs in Mark. Hensley himself later died from a snake bite.

John 14:13: "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
God is not a genie in a bottle. We often treat our prayers like the old show, “I Dream of Jeannie,” in which one of the characters was always trying to get a hold of the bottle so he could get all of his wishes fulfilled.  God is a good and generous God, but this does not mean that should, or can, pray for whatever we desire and believe that God is bound by some sort of contract to fulfill our request – or demand.
We are sinful people and don't even know what's best for us. Sometimes we pray with wrong motives. Praying random prayers that are self-centered is not God-honoring. We should seek his will when we pray. 
Another example:  Athletes who latch onto Philippians 4:13 ("I can do all this through him who gives me strength")?
In that passage, Paul is teaching on contentment.  That – not victory – is the key.  Paul is arguing that no matter what our situation is, we should learn to be content and to have peace.  This verse doesn't necessarily mean that Christ gives a player victory, but rather that the player can be content – win or lose - because of God's strength in him. It's not about God giving you the strength to hit a homerun as much as it is him working in you to be content no matter what happens in the game.

4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor;

4:9 and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."

This, to me, is the most interesting part of the temptation process, for it is tempting Jesus to have the very thing that he will have in God’s full time, but to rush that process so that Jesus has it sooner rather than later.

4:10 Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'"

4:11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.