Mt4v1-2 It has been said by a famous acronymiser that you are at your most vulnerable to temptation when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. So, what I do, is orchestrate my life so to be over-fed, politically-apathetic, constantly socially busy (especially this), and asleep (or caffeinated). That way I can Save myself, and save myself the trouble of being tempted and so go through life untested. - May. It. Never. Be. And Jesus does no mere endurance of temptation, but rather, he seeks it out (into the wild v1) and thrives on/through this spiritual warfare (vs the tempter v3). So, I need to be alone more often, and I need to equip myself for being alone with memorised promises 2Cor5v17 and truths Gal2v20 which will sustain me against such temptations as self-pity, and other Battles Christians Face.
Mt4v3-4 Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Continuing the metaphor of the infant's holding environment, a child cannot thrive & survive, cannot become a person, unless words are spoken to them. Physical holding and feeding are not enough, without words we become Cambderwell's 3-year-olds, unable to speak or screaming obscenities. So we are spiritually without the words of God spoken into us over us to us. Do we know we need this to survive, this interpersonal transaction with the divine..to believe we 'do no live by bread alone' is not primarily a test of our obedience or self-control, we need to receive God's word to be alive, so stop to turn your face towards Her, Her face is already turned to you, listen to the words, so that you might live.
Mt4v5-6 Too long I've been afraid of / Losing love I guess I've lost / Well if that's love / It comes at much too high a cost / I'd sooner buy / Defying gravity. ..God, however, is willing to have his love's labours lost, so to preserve the dignity of the humans who respond to him. God wants to be known, but it is not enough that Yahweh be known as powerful. There would be no conversion there, we all understand power drones coercion marketing. Pilate understood power Jn19v19-22 but preferred the fruit of the abuse of it Lk23v12. Felix Ac24v25 understood power but could not would not convert to giving it up in 'self-control' The real God is the groom who lays down his greater strength. .. Of dodging death, what good is it Mk8v36? Of greater importance is dodging present/eternal Hells of living in self-pity Mt27v5, labouring as an old creation 2Co5v17, of hyperactivity Mt23v15 and seeking after other people's praise Jn12v43.
Mt4v7-8 You shall not put your Lord God to the test, like you shall not manipulate your husband. No withdrawing to test whether he follows you, no building up walls to see if he loves you enough to break them down, no deliberate attempts to make him jealous as a test of his love, no throwing oneself down to the ground of the city in self-pity and self-contempt just to see if he loves you enough to save you. This is an old way, this is not love. Do not put the Lord your God to the test.
Mt4v9-10 'All these I will give you' esvsb notes only that this is a lie. Is it? We're trading with the ruler of this age Jn12v31, 2Co4v4, Eph2v2. We are dealing with a strong man Mk3v27 who has a lot to offer my identity anxieties and our internal monologues in which we consider violence as a solution to problems. His promises and his indictments are convincing because they are almost completely true: fastfood (of rocks to bread), bungeejumps (of angels bearing you up) and nucleararms (of dictatorial pax romana) – all do taste good and feel good, briefly. Just as when the devil says of me that I am an Old Creation, I can offer so little redeemed evidence to the contrary. But. It's not the whole truth, it is not the last word, it is not the big picture. In the same way, I deceive myself by speaking a partial word over my totality, a temporary word over my eternity/ But. I am a New Creation. That is how God considers me, that is the deeper truth. In this identity Jesus worships in obedient truth. So we.
Mt4v11 I want to pray this verse over those who are battling, as a prophetic declaration. Let it be so, for specific others, whose faces and names we know: __, __, __ … then the devil left them, and angels came and were ministering to them. Let it be so, let it be so, amen.
Mt4v12 Events, dear boy, events. Even Jesus let his thoughts and actions be altered and informed by events. We must come and go and make choices based on what is Given, both sorrow and joy. Jesus with drew to Galilee because of John's death. This is not a bad reactivity, this doesn't mean that Jesus didn't know who he was. We do not live in a vacuum, and this does not make us floundering ships or other maritime analogies. To be as human as Jesus and have out being-in-the-world we must walk hand-in-hand with God, making choices in response to circumstance. A simple truth, but freeing.
Mt4v13-14 (1) Expect to be displaced for your faith. (2) It is OK to leave your Nazareth. (3) God cares for the city compassionately and strategically. (1) Mt leaves out what Lk leaves in, Jesus didn't fall he was pushed: Lk4v17 Jesus preached Isaiah to Nazareth so they Lk4v29 tried to throw him over a cliff. So Jesus left. Gk: 'to leave' + 'intensively'. (2) Some old fashioned stubborn villages, cultures, workplaces can't be fixed right now and not by you. There were hurting and ignorant people in Nazareth he could have long laboured for their healing and teaching as, briefly, in Mk6v5, but he is free to move on. So Burt sees gravity-defier Kurt off to NYC, Jesus leaves Ohio but without a Rachel. You, so are free. (3) Capernaum a postexilic built cosmopolitan newtown portcity whose inhabitants were renowned as 'very great sinners, heretics, and dealers in magic arts' (Gill) So London. Who are we here for?
Mt4v15-16 Light metaphors. What would you say to us God? Light metaphors do want to speak of truth, seeing, knowing, but also of health. Human beings are not made to sit in darkened rooms. Despair is like being shut up in an enclosed claustrophobic prison with feeble light. Light here pours into consciousness to bring with it space, wide open spaces. The relationship between light and space means that a dawn speaks to our freedom. Darkness' not-knowing is more than an intellectual not-knowing, it is anxious afraid. Let the light metaphor speak to this pain. Light brings with it beauty, it is hard for pitch black to be beautiful, it is hard for freezing cold to be fully alive. Jesus thaw us warm us, throw up dapples, contours, colours, new perspectives. And what of the visual and the relational? What can be said? Might light show us the face of the one whose voice we heard in the dark. here I am, God.
Mt4v17-18 Use words if you have to. What words? “Repent!” Jesus talked-the-talk. He had to. Because the Kingdom is at hand, on hand, in hand, ready-to-hand, handy, close-as-hands-and-feet? What does this mean? Why does the close-at-hand-ness of the Kingdom require repentance? Why does repentance require preaching? Isn't the repentance required by the Kingdom self-evident without commentary and explanation and preaching? Oh Phil, repent and preach. .. v18 While walking. Jesus walked-the-walk. Litch. Jesus walks. Love the picture of Jesus the rambler, the pedestrian, the flaneur. Check Lk24v15. Jesus is a great walker. It is great walking with him.Jesus is missional walker. It is missional to walk like him. When you walk you see things. 'He saw two brothers', I see an army.
Mt4v19-20 I tend to resist this fishing metaphor, it seems impersonal and violent, to be fished is to be taken hold of. I was fished. I was and am taken hold of by a God who is kind not cruel,m interpersonal not indifferent. There is a God, who chases me down. I am the fish as well as the fisherman. This is the Christian mode of being, He chases me that I might choose Him, to choose to leave my nets and follow him each morning each moment. I always picture this scene by the sea from a 3rd-person perspective, but I pray I would take up the 1st-2nd-personal standpoint, it is my hands clutching nets, my feet on the shore. Let of and follow Him as in that moment the disciples were seized by something, something they couldn't not do, something worth the risk. We always exist in these moments with Jesus, & the adventure will always be sweeping others up, releasing them to know their fishyness & fishermanliness.
Mt4v21-22 Two other brothers, same prompt response to faith. How is my 'immediately'? And, what were these fisherboys so quick to respond to in this stranger who had Is53v2 'no form or comeliness..no beauty that we should desire him'? Three speculations: (1) leaving your net weaving and cleaving is a pattern, a way to the good life – marriage is but a smaller picture of a greater cleaving to which we are all called. And to be cleaved you must be called. They are called away from their father and they are called away from maintaining their nets – nets which were the maintenance and security of these families. What is more, to be called, there must be a caller, so the challengingness of our new commitments points to Christ's sufficiency to maintain us in an Other story. (2) The new. They may follow for the novelty, but they keep following because Jesus never stops being new, expansive, surprising. (3) To follow Jesus is to become his companion, Lk6v1-5, so he considers us. And in his speaking David companionship, his speak over his disciples that he sees them (and in so speaking enables them), to be as David's Mighty men, 1Chr11v22, ones able to fight lions in pits on snowy days.
Mt4v23-24 Jesus the healer of body, mind and spirit, Jesus who is Eph1v10 to unite all things in heaven & earth in himself, and so to heal, to make whole, to give integrity. Jesus is interested in integrating our experience, because he cares about our experience, that there be no Schopenhaurean small pain to distract us from himself. So v23 teaching proclaiming & healing, declaring, explaining & demonstrating an integrative work, the overflow of love, the manifestation of mystery.
Mt4v25 Here is a verse stuck between Galilee's hard places and a rock on which he gives a sermon. But there is not nothing here, because all scripture is God-breathed, but also because all reality is pregnantly full of the God who fills all things. .. Crowds. The multitude. What is the crowdiness of a crowd? Picture a Koyaanisqatsic time-lapsed trickle breaking into a gush of commuters pouring fourth from Canary Wharf to the tube, there is something almost necessarily melancholic about vast swells of tiny people, a lemmingy sheeply helplessness, as the crowds of Mt9v32. So we have compassion Mt15v32 and Jn21v17 feed his sheep. .. There is a from-ness to this crowd which matches the to-ness of Jesus commission in Ac1v8. So mission is from everywhere to everywhere even more so today. Look how far these people came, desperate to find-love-in-a-hopeless-place. Today, same desperation, same wildfire good news.