Evil Priority

Luke 4:3 (NLT)

Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, change this stone into a loaf of bread.”

Satan advanced an evil priority in telling Christ to make bread out of stones.

This evil priority can be stated in many different ways. We list ten ways it can be stated.

First, the priority of our will over God’s will. It was not God’s will to make bread out of stones here. Christ came to do the will of God, not His own will.

Second, the priority of body over soul. This temptation made the physical need (bread) more important that the spiritual need (obeying God). It is like the social Gospel. It puts more emphasis on feeding the stomach than saving the soul.

Third, the priority of reputation over character. In tempting Christ, Satan emphasized the Son of God’s identity. Doing this miracle would enhance His reputation as the Son of God. But Christ was more interested in character than reputation.

Fourth, the priority of privilege over responsibility. Christ had many privileges including miracle power. But Christ emphasized His responsibilities more than His privileges.

Fifth, the priority of circumstances over commands. Christ had some dire circumstances. But the commands of God, not circumstances, guided His conduct.

Sixth, the priority of pleasure over purity. Bread would give him physical pleasure. But it would defile Him because here bread would come through evil means.

Seventh, the priority of self over others. Had Christ done what the devil advocated, He would have sinned and thus ended the redemption plan to save others.

Eighth, the priority of temporal over eternal. Satan said to take care of the temporal need of bread and ignore eternal consequences for disobedience.

Ninth, the priority of sight over faith. Satan tempted Christ to live by sight—the bread you can see, and not by faith—trusting God to supply bread you cannot see.

Tenth, the priority of the false over the genuine. Satan tempted Christ to have a great achievement, but it would have been a false success, not a real success.

 

John G Butler, Daily Bible Reading: Sermonettes #1.

Risking

Risktakerby taking bold decision. Examples from the pass will help reflect on where motivation comes from.  Why people avoid as much as possible risk? Because taking some risk imply some exposures. Nobody likes to show their vulnerability. Risk occurs when we put our reputation, beliefs, financial security, personal well-being, or even our lives on the line. Some do so simply for the thrill, or in the hopes of achieving some higher goal.

What motivate two men from the pass to take some great risk? Ezekiel was a prophet that lived about 600 years before Jesus; John was an apostle who lived during Jesus lives. Both of these men saw with greater clarity what was coming, they saw what others could not see.

Without risk takers, life would be even more dangerous. Politicians, doctors, and scientists throughout history who were willing to take well-calculated risks have benefited us all. A medical example will help us to understand how civilization did benefit from a courageous man who risk.

“Smallpox was the menace of mankind in 1717 when Zabdiel Boylston developed an effective but hazardous method of protection. He called it innoculation. He injected a small amount of infected material directly from smallpox patients into uninfected patients.”[1]

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.–Helen Keller

Because these men saw with greater clarity what was coming, because they saw what others could not see, they took risk because they knew that doing nothing would bring destruction of many lives.

Security is the mother of danger and the grandmother of destruction.–Thomas Fuller

Even though the Bible never uses the word risk, story after story tells of risks taken, risks that end in flaming disasters or inspiring victories.  Did the shepherd left the ninety and nine in the safety of the fold and went out to search for the one lost sheep? No, the ninety-nine were left not in the safety of the fold but in the wilderness. “Only God, exhibiting his risky, careless love, would leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness to look for the one who is lost.”

The risks taken with the goal of presenting the gospel to those who have not heard are high-priority risks indeed. Ezekiel, John, Zabdiel are all men who saw what others could not see. They knew that risk was inescapable; they cross the security line and sailed off shore into deep water. They expose themselves for the well-being of others; putting their reputation, financial security, personal well-being, or even our lives on the line. For a Christian there is a risk when confronting a fallen world with the gospel’s radical message. The question a Christian has to answer, are we willing to use our gifts and risk for the kingdom’s greatest advantage? A similar question need to be answer by anyone who see what others cannot see, are you willing to take a risk that will benefit others?


[1] Terry C. Muck, When to Take a risk, vol. 9, Carol Stream, IL; Waco, TX: Christianity Today, Inc.; Word Books, 1987), 32.