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Bible Alive Jesus Christ 007: "The Kingdom of God"
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Bible Alive Jesus Christ 007: "The Kingdom of God"

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The Church never could have invented Jesus’ baptism at the hands of John the Baptist. Learn why, and also why Baptism is the “hermeneutical key” for understanding the meaning of Jesus’ ...

The Church never could have invented Jesus’ baptism at the hands of John the Baptist. Learn why, and also why Baptism is the “hermeneutical key” for understanding the meaning of Jesus’ ministry and message. See how the inspired authors of the Synoptic Gospels choose mythic language in the temptation narrative and how all three attempts of the devil are varieties on the one great temptation Jesus faced during his public ministry: To become the Messiah who fulfills the expectations of the people. Learn also the Outline of Jesus’ ministry.

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    Bible Alive Jesus Christ 007: "The Kingdom of God" Bible Alive Jesus Christ 007: "The Kingdom of God" Presentation Transcript

    • Bible Alive: Jesus Christ
      Class Seven: The Kingdom of God”
    • The following presentation would be impossible without these resources
    • And most of all…
      By Father Roch A. Kereszty o. cist.
      Thank you Father Roch!
    • Setting the Tone
      Do you like being in prison? Do you like being controlled? Let me tell you something: If you ever let yourself feel good when people tell you that you’re O.K., you are preparing yourself to feel bad when they tell you you’re not good. As long as you live to fulfill other people’s expectations, you better watch what you wear, how you comb your hair, whether your shoes are polished—in short, whether you live up to every damned expectation of theirs. Do you call that human?
      —Anthony de Mello
    • Setting the Tone
      The true-born Son of God is Christ and Christ alone,
      Yet must each Christian be this Christ, this selfsame Son.
      —Angelus Silesius
    • Setting the Tone
      I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, “What can get through from such snares?” Then I heard a voice saying to me, “Humility.” 
      —St. Anthony of the Desert
    • Let us Pray
      Merciful Father
      Help us tonight to see and hear
      The Son
      Who in One Spirit we are all meant to be.
      Help us too to go out into the wilderness, and love in hard places.
      Poor in Spirit, we give you thanks for today and every day,
      By your grace,
      Amen.
    • Summarizing Last Class
      We saw in Matthew and Luke that although Jesus is virginally conceived, Joseph is nonetheless presented as true husband to Mary and more than just Jesus’ legal father.
      We learned why there is no emotional isolation or separation between Mary and Joseph.
      We saw God’s desire for the existence of the Holy Family and what it meant.
      Also: we learned about Jesus’ Davidic ancestry and what this means as well as the significance of his obscure years.
    • Baptism by John
      How does one “prove” the historicity of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist?
      Kereszty’s Answer: By the criterion of embarrassment we see that the Church never could have invented the story of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptizer.
      Why? Because she was so concerned to show the transcendent superiority of the Risen Lord to the disciples of the Baptist, she never would have created a story in which Jesus SUBJECTS himself to John or suggest, as the fact of Jesus’ mikwa does, that our Lord may have even been for some time a disciple of the Baptizer.
      All of this makes the work of Christian apologists trying to illustrate the superiority of Christ over all other personages more difficult. It must have happened.
    • Baptism by John
      How does one “prove” the historicity of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist?
      Also by the criterion of multiple attestation—allthe canonical gospels attest to it and point to the event’s historicity.
    • Gospels, NOT BIOGRAPHIES
      Many details about John the Baptizer in the Synoptic Gospels and the Fourth Gospel defy harmonization.
      In the Synoptic Gospels Jesus begins his ministry AFTER John has been arrested—(Mk 1:14-15; Mt 4:12-17; Lk 3:19-23).
      In the Johannine Gospel, the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of the Baptizer OVERLAP (Jn 3:22-30).
    • Synoptic / John Compare Contrast
      Mk 1:14-15
      Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”
      Mt 4:12-17
      Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee;
      and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
    • Synoptic / John Compare Contrast
      Lk 3:19-23
      But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he shut up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened,
      and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven,
      “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”
      Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age…
    • Synoptic / John Compare Contrast
      Jn 3:22-30
      After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he remained with them and baptized.
      John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people came and were baptized. For John had not yet been put in prison. Now a discussion arose between John’s disciples and a Jew over purifying.
      And they came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
    • Gospels, NOT BIOGRAPHIES
      Another matter concerning John the Baptizer that differs between the Synoptics and the Fourth Gospel pertains to just who the Baptizer is.
      • The Baptizer is Elijah (the Elijah-like prophet) who preaches repentance according to the Synoptic portrayal of him—(Mk 1:14-15; Mt 4:12-17; Lk 3:19-23).
      • In the Fourth Gospel, the Baptizer is NOT Elijah, but the Witness to Jesus (Jn 1:19-36).
    • In the Synoptics, John the Baptizer appears in the desertproclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
    • ` People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
      were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.
    • Elijah
      In the Synoptics, John was clothed in
      camel’s hair, with a leather belt around
      his waist. He fed on locusts and wild
      honey.
    • But in the Fourth Gospel, John the Baptizer claims he is NOT Elijah, but the Witness to Jesus, “the Lamb of God” and “Bridegroom.”
    • Close Connections
      There seems in each Gospel a close connection between Jesus public ministry (who was “powerful in word and in deed”) and his act of subjecting to John the Baptist which in each Gospel is situated right before his public ministry. But what else begs our investigation?
      The apparent incongruity. In the words of Edward Schillebeeckx, the baptism of Jesus by John may indeed be “the primary hermeneutical key” for understanding Jesus’ ministry and message.
    • Message of the Baptizer
      Explain John the Baptist and his message. What were the prevailing messianic expectations of his age? What did the Jewish people expect?
      First Century Jews expected either one of two things to happen:
      A political Davidic messiah to arise who will free them from the yoke of the Romans.
      An apocalyptic event of Divine Intervention that introduces a new age and annihilates all the enemies of the Jews.
      In both situations, the Jews are favored by God and the judgment of God destroys the nations.
    • Message of the Baptizer
      Is this the view of John the Baptizer?
      Luke 3:7-9—
      He said therefore to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
    • Message of the Baptizer
      The view of John the Baptizer as presented in the Synoptics differs radically from that of much of first century Jewish messianism.
      John speaks in line with the Deuteronomic-prophetic tradition: Israel itself is the object of God’s wrath. He turns the tables.
      John gives the Bad News—God’s Holiness and Israel’s sinfulness overwhelms him, so he cannot preach anything comforting.
      Only one thing he preaches in the Synoptics—the imminent outpouring of God’s wrath on the Nation, not the gentiles. The whole nation is RIPE for judgment.
      In the Fourth Gospel he is but a pointer to the “True Bridegroom,” who is “the Lamb of God.” His message in Johannine theology is “I am NOT _______.”
    • The Baptizer’s Soteriology
      How can anyone be saved according to John the Baptist?
      Lk 3:10-14—
      And the multitudes asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than is appointed you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
      There is only one escape from certain doom—metanoia, conversion of heart and mind.
      One must change his or her outlook on life and practice the basic commands of the Torah—justice and love of neighbor.
      John “dunks” people as a sign of this inward conversion and new beginning.
    • The Baptizer’s Thoughts on the Messiah
      Does John think of the Promised Messiah as a savior who forgives sins?
      Lk 3:17—
      “…His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
      No.
      In John the Baptizer’s perspective, the “One-Who-is-to-Come” is the executor of God’s righteous judgment.
    • Jesus’ Attraction to the Baptizer
      It was certainly a very big problem for some early Christians that Jesus was so attracted to John that he underwent his influence and even his baptism! Is this not against his divine dignity?
      No.
      The only way to make the problem disappear is to realize that Jesus lives out his divine sonship in and through HUMAN EXISTENCE.
      There is a direct communication between the Father and Jesus, as we shall explore later. But it is PRECISELY the direct communication of the Father to Jesus that helps him to discover the importance of John’s work and message, just as the Father inspires Jesus to discover his Father’s Plan in the Scriptures.
    • Jesus vs John??
      Is Jesus’ message opposed to that of John the Baptist, and if so, how?
      The messages of Jesus and John DO seem to contradict each other, at first blush.
      Consider that Jesus preaches GOOD NEWS: God’s forgiving love to the sinner. But John, on the other hand, announces BAD NEWS: the imminent cutting down of the tree and the burning it with fire. These seem like contrary messages.
    • Jesus’ & the Baptizer’s Message
      Yet, even though Jesus’ message goes way beyond that of John’s, the Good News of forgiveness presupposes the Bad News of the reality of guilt and judgment.
      Consider with Kereszty: Only if the servant knows that it is impossible for him to pay back the enormous debt to his Master can he comprehend the limitless generosity of the Master. Unless we grasp that the Prodigal Son does not deserve the lavish feast and reception of his Father can we deeply into the love of the Father for us which transcends all human imagination.
      Jesus’ offer of forgiveness to the sinner is an offer of an infinitely holy love that cannot be turned down without direconsequences.
      Jesus calls for decisive action because the end of time has arrived; should one fail to respond to his invitation, the Good News turns for him into news of Judgment.
    • Read Mt 23:1-36
      Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples,
      “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. ..
    • Mt 23:1-36 cont.
      “…But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted...
    • Mt 23:1-36 cont.
      “…But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
      “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
    • Mt 23:1-36 cont.
      “…Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
      “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
      “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
      “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets…
    • Mt 23:1-36 cont.
      “…Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to Gehennēs? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.
      “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
    • Bad News & Good News
      For those who remain in hypocrisy, what awaits?
      Those who maintain their hypocrisy remain in judgment.
      What does this make of the Good News?
      The Good News is the krisis—in the original sense of the word, meaning judgment.
      What groups are separated (see Mt 9:13; Lk 5:32; Mt 18:1-9; Lk 16:1-9)?
      The krisis (Good News) separates forgiven sinners from the self-righteous who “need no forgiveness.”
    • So… Contradictions??
      Does John the Baptizer contradict Jesus?
      Kereszty: A thorough examination an comparison reveals that the two messages don’t contradict.
      How does the Baptizer relate the Good News of Jesus to the preaching of divine judgment?
      Only by taking the Baptizer’s message of judgment seriously can we take Jesus’ message of forgiveness seriously.
      His love does not condone, but removes sinfulness and enables the sinner to start a new life. It implies personal responsibility for our sins.
      We need the Bad News in order to respect the Good News. All have sinned; all deserve judgment. This is the background by which we properly measure God’s boundless love that acts in Jesus.
    • Pessimistic Anthropology = Poor Christology
      Say we were only unfortunate, imperfect creatures. Would we need forgiveness?
      No. Accepting the love of God in Jesus is accepting a love that does not condone but rather removes sinfulness and enables a sinner to begin a new life. If we were just unfortunate and imperfect creatures, we would need understanding and compassion, and perhaps also professional counseling, but not forgiveness.
      In fact, if we were only weak and wretched creatures, far from condemnation WE HAVE A RIGHT to compassionate treatment on the part of God who created us so weak in the first place.
      Jesus’ forgiveness supposes that there is more than weakness to us: we are PERSONALLY responsible for our sins. This is why the Baptizer’s message is itself an integral part of the Good News of Jesus (see Mk 1:1, 3:18).
    • The Message of the Baptizer
      What does the Message of the Baptizer guard us from?
      It guards us from the extreme of separating the love of Jesus from his holiness and from viewing it as a service to which helpless humankind can register a legitimate claim.
      There is a real parallelism between Romans 1-2 and John’s Message and Romans 3-8 and Jesus’ message. We cannot appreciate the free gift of God’s grace that justifies the faithful UNLESS we first understand the judgment we deserve through our sins.
      John prepares for all future Christian generations—PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD.
    • So what? This explains nothing!
      None of this explains WHY Jesus (stage one in Gospel Formation) subjected himself to John’s baptism of repentance. Why did he do it?
      First, Kereszty tells us that we must accept that Jesus did many signs and that in the light of the Resurrection the disciples believed that everything he did was FULL of MEANING.
      The baptism was Jesus’ first prophetic “sign-action” that was meant for all people. It approved John’s proclamation of Israel’s apostasy and the urgent need for conversion.
    • Is that it?
      Lk 3:21—
      Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened…
      There is more. It also shows Jesus’ profound solidarity with his sinful people.
      No New Testament tradition EVER depicts Jesus converting or repenting; he is sinless. Yet the New Testament records Jesus the sinless one immersing himself in the Jordon with all the sinners.
      Look how Luke expresses his solidarity with his people. Sinless, who does Jesus identify himself with? With sinners, with his people the sinful Israel, by sharing baptism of repentance with them.
    • Beloved Son & Spirit
      Mk 1:10-11
      And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”
      Mt 3:16-17
      And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
      Lk 3:22
      …and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”
    • The Meaning of His Baptsim
      The revelation Jesus receives from the Father after he emerges from the water explains the meaning of his baptism; it is revealed to him that he will be a “Servant Messiah.”
      Psalm 2:7—I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my son, today I have begotten you…”
      Is 42:1—Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations.
      Both combine the words of Psalm 2:7 and Is 42:1, the enthronement of the Davidic Messiah-King and the beginning of the First Servant Song. He is very different than what the people expect. So too the Kingdom is very different than what the people expect. Jesus will embody the covenant with his people, but will also become a universal light for all nations and will establish God’s justice over all the earth.
      Jesus will be VERY DIFFERENT than what the people expect. He is a HIDDEN MESSIAH, one who does no spectacular acts (Is 42:2) nor will he cry out and shout to make his voice heard on the streets.
    • Sign-Action Baptism & the Resurrection
      How is this sign-action better understood in light of the resurrection?
      Kereszty explains: immersion into the water foreshadows Jesus death and emerging from the waters to the declaration of the Father that he is the Beloved Son anticipates the Resurrection, of which the pre-Pauline kerygma proclaims that in that Jesus is constituted “Son of God in power (see Rom 1:4).”
    • The Sign-Action in Matthean & Lucan Theologies
      In Matthew’s theology, Jesus arising from the waters is the New Israel (cf. Ex 4:21-23), the true Son of God in whom the Father is well pleased (in contrast with the sinful Old Israel who broke the Covenant).
      In Luke’s theology, Jesus emerging from the waters is the New Human Being (New Adam, cf. Gen 2:7), firstborn of a New Humankind. As Old Adam became alive by receiving the breath/spirit of Yahweh, so the New Adam is given the Holy Spirit to lead him in his public ministry all the way to the end of his life.
    • The Temptation of Jesus
    • Temptation
      Let’s talk about the Temptation of Jesus.
      The sitzimlebenof the temptation is Jesus’ historical life—Stage One in Gospel Formation.
      All three attempts of the devil in the theology of Matthew and Luke are varieties on the one great temptation Jesus faced during his public ministry: To become the Messiah who fulfills the expectations of the people.
      These stories could hardly have originated with the early Church, in which political messianism was not a problem. Moreover Jesus seems refer to this struggle when he gives us the key in a parable in Mk 3:27:
      “But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house.”
    • Historie or Geschichte?
      Are the temptations then a real experience of Jesus?
      Yes; however the language is mythological.
      The mythological language suggests that these experiences transcend ordinary experiences.
      The account in Mark does not explain what these temptations were. But the connection between Mk 1:13 and 3:27 make clear that first Jesus overcame Satan and bound him and this resulted in his subsequent victories over him.
      Mk 1:13 and 3:27—And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him… “But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house.”
    • Matthean Details
      Why does Matthew elaborate and give us a longer three-fold temptation account?
      When reading the Temptation account in Matthew we have to be aware of the Matthean context.
      In Matthew, Jesus relives the history of Israel in his own life. The three temptations correspond to the temptations of Israel in the desert and those of her entire history.
      His return from Egypt corresponds to Israel.
      His baptism corresponds to Israel crossing the Red Sea.
      Forty days in the desert? Corresponds to what? What is going on? Look at Deut 8:2-3; that’s the heart—
    • Deuteronomy 8:2-3
      And you shall remember all the way which Yahweh your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh.
    • The Heart of Old Israel
      In Old Israel’s heart, there was a distrust of God’s care and providence. They did not believe God could provide their food and drink (Ex 15-16).
      But Jesus is the New Israel, the True Israel, the true Son of God, in Matthean Theology. Jesus trusted the Father’s providence unconditionally and undergoes hunger.
      Mt 4:4—“One does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”
      Cf. with Jn 4:32-34—But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has any one brought him food?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work…”
    • The Old Israel vs the New Israel
      In her wars, the Old Israel tried to take advantage of God’s help to prove her own greatness—despite Moses’ God alone is her glory.
      But the New Israel does not use the God’s power to enhance his own glory; he refuses to perform show miracles.
      Mt 4:7 (cf. Deut 6:16; Ex 17:1-7)—Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
      Just as he will not cast himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple, so he will not come down off the Cross.
      Mk 15:31-32—So also the chief priests mocked him to one another with the scribes, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”
      Cf. Jn 7:18; 8:50—“He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood… Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and he will be the judge…”
    • Satanic Heights
      Through her kings, the Old Israel succumbed to temptation to pursue earthly power by submitting to the worship of foreign gods.
      As the New Israel, Jesus would have to receive world dominion from Satan, which would make world dominion the same as Satanic worship.
      Psalm 72:8, 11—May he have dominion from sea to sea,and from the River to the ends of the earth!... May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!
      Mt 4:8-9—Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
      This is the climax: world dominion would equal Satanic worship for Jesus.
      Mt 4:10 (cf. Deut 6:13, 10:20)—Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
    • Reliving and Anticipating
      Jesus not only relives Israel’s history, he also anticipates his own.
      Now we understand the conflict with his people! He disappointed the expectations of the crowd who pursued him to take on the role of political liberator.
      He perceived the diabolic influence on the people and their expectations.
      Mk 8:11-10—The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”
      Mt 16:1-4—And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather; for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.
      Lk 11:15-16, 29-30—But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons”; while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven…When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation...”
    • Lucan Details
      How are the temptations of Jesus universal human temptations according to Luke’s theology?
      Luke uses temptation in relation to universal human history by tracing Jesus’ lineage back to Adam. Jesus thus suffers the temptations of man such as fulfillment of his physical needs to God’s will and seeking power and glory for himself.
      For Luke, the Son of God alone can fully realize an AUTHENTIC HUMAN EXISTENCE because he alone can fully realize his dependence on God and LIVE OUT this dependence in a life of trust, service, and adoration.
    • Important Passion Prelude
      Luke gives an IMPORTANT contribution to the Temptation account in Lk 4:13:
      And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
      These temptations for Luke are a prelude to the Passion which will be the most decisive struggle with Satan in the time for the power of darkness.
      Lk 22:3, 31, 53—Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve…"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat”…“When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
    • Could Jesus really be tempted?
      How could Jesus be really tempted?
      We have often misinterpreted the temptation narratives as if they were mere show for our edification. This is according to a Docetic model.
      It is hard for us to accept that driven out by the Holy Spirit and likewise filled with the Holy Sprit how Jesus could have endured a REAL struggle. This is especially true if we hold that Jesus had no inordinate desire or tendency toward sin.
      If the mystery of the Incarnation is accepted, however, we must also accept that God has really made our weak human nature his own and it is in our weak nature that he fought with Satan.
      Again, Jesus is not superman, but man.
    • Incarnation IN History
      Jesus was a man of his nation and culture. Jesus was historical. As such he certainly would have been exposed to the expectations of a glorious Messiah Priest-King of the line of David.
      The offers of the devil could have appealed to him in this Jewish milieu because they promised something that he may have wished for his people with all his heart, something GOOD and not bad: food for the hungry, liberating his people from Roman oppression, establishing a kingdom of God over the whole world, and providing irrefutable apocalyptic “heavenly signs” to convince the people of the truth of his message.
      To a young Jewish male 2,000 years ago, imbued with his people’s desires and close to them, this could NOT be seen as an evil thing.
    • The Vocation as ‘the Servant’
      However, comparing these “dreams” with his vocation as “The Servant”, that is, because of his awareness of God’s plan and his vocation as servant, he may have uncovered the diabolical nature of these suggestions.
      Jesus definitively rejects the people’s understanding of the Davidic Messiah in Matthew’s version (the offer of “all the kingdoms of the world”) which prompts Jesus’ definitive rejection.
      That is what constitutes the Temptation of Jesus and what its mythic language is getting at.
    • Jesus’ Temptations = the Church’s Temptations
      How are the temptations of Jesus temptations for the Church in every age?
      Kereszty explains that the temptation accounts also serve for the Church to unmask as false or diabolical certain individual or collective tendencies.
      How often we are tempted to approach Jesus as Satan did. If you really are the Son of God, why not put an end to famine, destitution, and all suffering? Satisfy all our material needs!—IF you are the Son of God! If you are the Son of God, why not give us a sufficiently compelling heavenly sign that will convince us and dissipate all doubt in everyone so that all people will have to acknowledge you!
      Church leaders and communities have been tempted in this way and HAVE succumbed to the temptations of political messianism. How many times has the Church been USED by the political ambitions of rulers who sought to extend “the Christian Empire” across the world by force? How often has the Church exploited “the secular arm” to UPROOT heresies and execute heretics?
      From the Constantinian alliance of Church and State to the Action française to contemporary movements, the Church has been continuously lured by political ideologies both right and left, always in danger of misunderstanding and distorting her Vocation.
    • Outline: Jesus’ Public Ministry
      John the Baptist’s ministry began between 27-29 AD. Jesus’ first public appearance could not have taken place much later.
      Jesus began his public ministry in Galilee and he preached and his disciples baptized in Judea. All four Gospels mention the ministry in Galilee, but the Fourth Gospel locates few stories there. This period is characterized by his proclamation that the Kingdom of God is near, his miracles demonstrate its nearness to those with faith. The crowds hail him with enthusiasm, whereas the Pharisees become more and more hostile and begin to plot against him.
      The feeding of the multitudes in the desert appears as the turning point in the ministry of Jesus. It marks the climax of enthusiasm for the crowds who want to make him king in a messianic uprising. But this causes Jesus to depart, which causes a crisis of loyalty in his disciples (Jn 6:66).
    • Outline: Jesus’ Public Ministry
      In all four Gospels, Peter confesses his faith in Jesus’ as the Messiah in the name of the remaining loyal disciples gathered around the 12. THEN in all four accounts there follows the first announcement of the Passion.
      In the Synoptics, a second important phase of Jesus’ ministry begins on the road to Jerusalem and unfolds there.
      He provokes the Sadducees by the prophetic “sign-action” of cleansing the Temple, thereby claiming authority over the Temple. Here Jesus words are not about the Kingdom of God, but rather impending judgment at the end of the age.
      While the Synoptics only mention one trip to Jerusalem, John’s Gospel has Jesus going there four times.
      The Fourth Gospel also refers to three Passovers while the Synoptics name one. John seems more historically reliable in this sense, giving us the notion that Jesus’ ministry lasted between 2 and 3 years.
      Questions & Assignment