Friday, April 1, 2011

The Fourth Temptation – the Temptation to Put Out Brush Fires

Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. 12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;

Up to now, Jesus had been tempted with hunger, jumping off the temple and the kingdoms of the world. But a fourth one comes on their heels. It seems as soon as He comes out of the wilderness, He is met with the news of John's imprisonment. This is His cousin John, the one who leaped in his mom's womb at the presence of the Lord inside of Mary. The one whom Jesus would call the finest man to ever live, Mt 11:11.

How it must have struck him hard to receive the news that this fiery country preacher who vowed to lay the axe to the root of the trees got his axe a little close to Herod's roots and is now nigh to execution.

I would have been tempted to dispatch that same angel that slew 185,000 soldiers in one night a few centuries earlier to whip up on Herod's henchmen. I would have been tempted to go immediately to John's prison to make a visit of encouragement. Instead, He left John to languish in lockup so He could go into the Galilee to show a great light to the many there who sat in darkness, vs 16. He had the prophecy of Isaiah to fulfill, vs 14. He had to take the same message that John preached elsewhere, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." vs 17.

No one would have blamed Jesus for turning stone into bread or taking a break to go visit His cousin in oubliette. But with Jesus, it was always first things first. Priorities took precedence.

And so it ought to be with us today. Many things will demand your attention. But you should be ready to say, "It is written..." or "I must be about my Father's business" or "I must needs go through Samaria" or "Let the dead bury the dead."

You have appointments made by the recording angel. You have "God things" to participate in. Don't allow brush fires here and there to detract you from the mission.

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