Sunday, January 21, 2007

more on four

I should say before i start that most of what i'm about to say is inspired/stolen from a Dave Gibson article on Beginning with Moses.

So Luke 4, not about us, about Jesus being the obedient Son of God. About Jesus succeding where Adam the Son of God and Israel the Son of God had failed. Looking at this unfolding story in three parts probably helps a little bit.

The first scene Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. God's one command to ensure their happiness and His glory was simple. Just don't eat the apple off the tree. Everything else you can eat, just not this. The audience hold their breath, will Adam be the obedient son of God, will he be a worthy federal head and substitute for us? No. He disobeys God's once command and eats the apple. And it's game over for him, he and eve are kicked out of Eden, forbidden from ever returning and condemned to work the land. God is rich in mercy and steadfast love however, and so gives them hope. One day, from their line one will be born who will crush the serpent under His foot...

Jesus is also not Israel. There are probably many examples of when Israel was God's disobedient son, but lets look at the Exodus. About two million Jews being led up out of Egypt, these must the serpent crushers who will live as God's people in God's land forever, loving and worshiping and enjoying Him. The audience strain their necks to get a glimpse of this new hope. And what happens? Moses has to leave Israel for forty days to speak to God...and they fall into disobediance. They make a Golden Calf and worhsip that instead. They even call it 'the god who bought us up out of Egypt'. Not so obediant there then. Later they even refuse to believe on God for entrance into the Promised Land and wonder in the wilderness for forty years. It doesn't seem as though Israel will be the obedient one after all.

Enter Jesus. Third time lucky think the crowd? Baptised and driven into the wilderness, what's He going to do. He relies on God. He refuses to worship the devil, or use His power to turn stones into bread or attract attention to Himself by throwing Himself down from the Temple and getting God to save Him. He is obedient. So His ministry continues. And as much as Jesus is everything Adam and Israel could never, He is everything we could never be. We will never be obedient like He was...never fight temptation like He did.

Sure there are times when i can ward off temptation for a season by telling myself about Isaiah 6, or other verses, but only for a season. The time will come when i fall again, the time will come soon, because i carry around with me a deadly enemy. The problem isn't that i do bad things, though that is a problem, the problem is that i am bad. So i've got no hope. How am i meant to follow Jesus' example? If satan came to me with the offer of food in this situation, i'd probably already have a bakery going. Luke 4 is not a guide for me.

And thats the best news ever. Why? Because Jesus is the perfect obedience that i need. he has been loyal to God, never sinned, never broken God's perfect law. And yet it was He who was nailed to the cross, not me. He who died under the weight of God's wrath, not me. Jesus who suffered for my sin. Not me. This is grace, that Jesus has done it all in Luke 4 so precisely so that we don't have to. This is amazing, glorious substitution.

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