The Wilderness of Being Human

The “tempter,” the “deceiver,” ha-satan in Hebrew, from whence we get Satan … gets, I think, a bad rap. Tempting and deceiving are aspects of being human. These are the shadow, or wilderness, sides of ourselves where we are susceptible. Perhaps, most critically, the story of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness tells us he is human. The gospels are deliberate. In all three synoptic accounts we read: Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness… (Matthew and Luke) or even …the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. (Mark). What could be clearer? God, the Spirit, draws Jesus into intentional encounter with his humanity, the pain and trials of being human. This is scripture’s way of telling us that whatever we believe Jesus to be, however we experience him, however he ministered, healed, changed lives or spoke for justice – he did it living in a human skin. He knew what it was to be a man. Of course, there are things about Jesus’ divine nature none of us understand. All of the names – Christ, messiah, Son of God, Son of Man, the Risen Lord – are attempts to explain the part of his nature that defies our understanding, to explain experiences people had of him. However, the gospels confirm that he knew what it was to be human. Take comfort in the idea that Jesus knew what it was like to be you.

Peace and grace   – Pastor Carol

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