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By Edwin Astill
Every day – almost every minute – we make choices. Some are trivial, some life changing. Some we take almost without thinking; some pose dilemmas, and we have to consider the implications for ourselves and for others.
Early in his ministry Jesus was faced with choices. After his baptism by John he was “led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 4:1-11). After 40 days and nights of fasting in the wilderness the temptation arose. Jesus was faced with choices: which direction was he to take?
His first option, suggested by the devil, was to use his powers to gratify his earthly needs. Rather like those winners of large sums who “spend spend” we could use our talents and resources to simply enjoy ourselves. At the end of our lives what purpose can we be said to have served? Jesus rejected that course, and his powers were used either directly to help the hungry and afflicted, or to illustrate sacred truths.
His second option was to usurp the power of God the Father – not said directly by the devil (he is too subtle for that) – but by challenging him to force God to save him from the temple fall. Jesus had a ready response to that one – “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”.
His third option was to rule the whole earth. He could overcome earthly rulers and subjugate them. Mankind would be forced to obey him, submit to his will. Throughout history we have encountered men who think they can follow that path. Europe suffered under Stalin and Hitler, Asia under Mao and Pol Pot. Africa, the Middle East, and South America have not been spared in recent times either. Even if Jesus had instituted a benign dictatorship we would not have had freedom to make choices. It is often the bad choices we make that make us rounded human beings!
No, that is not what Jesus chose either. His choice led him to the Cross. His choice was to offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
View previous Reflection articles
Life After Death
Life’s Challenges Pt. 2
The Shattered Glass
Not Quite the Damascus Road
A Home for the Lord
The New Age of Martyrs
A God of Second Chances
Acceptance & Rejection
More Thoughts on Christmas
Thoughts on Christmas
The Vastness of Creation
Home is where the Heart is
Beyond Fear to Exhiliarating Trust
Sticks and Stones
Beauty in the Chaos
God and Creation
The Lord is near
Having fun and taking new steps with our friends
A friend who stands where we stand, and weeps with us
Remain in Me
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