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Christ—the Anointed One

06 Aug
from Google Images

from Google Images

Many years ago when I was a child, my parents would return home from a mission service at church really pumped up to lead a better life.[1] I was raised Roman Catholic, so our vocabulary was different from mainstream Protestantism. A mission service for us was like a revival service for Protestants. “Oh, he put the fear of God in us,” they would say, which meant he raised his voice more often than the pastor did on a regular Sunday service. He may have pounded the pulpit and raised his hands or spoke about sin in the people’s lives. He was considered a saint sent by God, according to us—or anointed if it were a Protestant service. Isn’t it odd how we use words to represent what we see, hear or feel?

As near as we can tell, Jesus was anointed by God for his public ministry at his baptism. It is there that the Holy Spirit came down out of heaven and remained upon Jesus (Mark 1:10-11; Acts 10:38). After being anointed, Jesus was immediately driven into the wilderness to be tempted. What an odd thing to do. One might think, if Jesus was anointed for a task, he would immediately be sent to those God intended to call, warn or touch in some way for his purposes, but this was not the case for Jesus. Rather, Jesus was immediately driven into the wilderness—away from society—to be tempted (Mark 1:12). How should we understand this?

Mark doesn’t give the account of Jesus’ three temptations like Luke and Matthew do. Rather, he tells us that Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days, tempted by Satan, was with the wild beasts (G2342), and angels ministered to him (Mark 1:13). Why would the scripture mention wild beasts being in the wilderness but never mention them again, although Jesus was in the wilderness often as he ministered in remote areas aground Galilee or passed from Galilee to Jerusalem? The book of Revelation often uses beasts (G2342) to represent men and organizations of men working against God’s purposes. Acts 10:12 and 11:6 identify wild beasts (G2342) as gentiles, men doing evil. Paul speaks of Cretans evil beasts (G2342) in Titus 1:12. The point is that Jesus seems to have been with evil men or at least men who worked against the purposes of God, unclean in Peter’s vision in Acts 10. Jesus was ‘with’ these men while he was tempted in the wilderness. Who might these men be, and did Jesus’ temptation from Satan come through them rather than by Jesus meeting a satanic being, whom we call Satan?

No matter where we go in society, no matter what the calling one has or the vision one has for the good of mankind, we will find men who wish to take advantage of such a mission—perhaps even support it, if they could control it. For example, great humanitarian ventures have been undertaken, raising up hospitals, orphanages, food banks etc. Wonderful things have been done through these institutions, but often only a small percentage of the dollar ever gets to aid the needy. Corruption, in the guise of administrative labor, eats up what is given. On the other hand, when crowds sought out Jesus to continually satisfy their needs (Luke 4:42; John 6:24), he simply left them in order to preach the good news (Luke 4:43-44).

On a similar note, who can deny that promising religious leaders, whose original intent, no doubt, was to preach the Gospel, fell prey to fame and fortune—probably more often than not, at the encouragement of powerful men willing to help out by taking advantage of the promising religious leader’s popularity, exploiting him in order to take advantage of the wealth that could be made through his ministry? Nevertheless, the work of God cannot be controlled by men. Rather God’s work is criticized as being too negative or overindulgent by those who are unable to control what is being done (Matthew 11:7-19).

Moreover, political idealists have run for office, hoping to change the world for the better; but powerful men used the popularity of the promising charismatic leader for their own ends, even corrupting the office and dashing the hopes and dream of the idealist. When the people tried to make Jesus their leader, Jesus hid himself from them (John 6:14-15).

Such were the three temptations of Christ in Luke 4 and Matthew 4—namely, taking care of people’s physical needs, their spiritual needs and their sense of need to be led to do good things (politically). Was this done through Mark’s wild beasts such as is true so often today when men organize to help eradicate a need, a wrong, a plague, a terror to society or even to spread the Gospel? Is it any wonder why Jesus chose to begin his ministry with nothing, calling 12 men to be with him and witness what he said and did, as God blessed his ministry to the point that the religious and political movers and shakers of Jesus’ day felt, that, since they couldn’t control Jesus’ work, he needed to be destroyed?

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Kingdom of God

 

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