There are times when I cannot blame any of you atheists or agnostics out there for not believing in God and the Bible. Really! There are times when I have to shake my head and wonder why I have not become an atheist a long time ago. Why do I say this? Well, there are passages in the Bible that I find difficult to believe if I were not a Christian.
Here is one example. In this post I want to ask you this question: Why did Jesus Christ fast for forty days and forty nights right after He was baptized by John the Baptist? Why did He not celebrate soon after He sprang out of the Jordan River which officially began His ministry?
The account of Jesus Christ’s temptation can be found in Matthew 4:1-11.
After being baptized, why did not Jesus Christ gather up his friends and acquaintances and all go to the nearest Olive Garden Restaurant and have a feast?! He could have begun His ministry full of energy and power right then and there. His first few days could have been launched with tremendous and powerful preaching.
But, nooooo! Jesus had to do things differently! After baptism, Jesus went out into a barren desert and fasted for forty days and forty nights. Are you kidding me?!
Guess what happened first? The devil, Satan, showed up! And he began tempting Jesus into making bread from rocks to eat. Surprise! Surprise! What do you expect? Jesus had not eaten for forty days! This temptation did not occur on the 31st day of His forty day fast. Nope. It was after 40 days.
And then what happened after that? Satan leads Jesus up to the top of the temple and tempts Jesus to jump off! What do you think of that, huh? If I were Jesus and am famished do you think I would find myself on a rooftop of a building? I would be so weak from not eating that a little breeze would have sent me plummeting to the ground.
It is not over folks! Guess what happened next? Satan leads Jesus up to the top of a mountain in order to tempt Him further. Are you kidding? Would you, after being in a desert, after not eating for weeks, and after ascending up the stairs (or whatever) to the top of the temple, then climb up to the top of a mountain? I find this hard to believe! If I were in Jesus’ position at that time I would have stopped at a nearest Dunkin’ Donuts on the way, order a bagel with cream cheese, a blueberry muffin and a coffee. Then I would climb the mountain. Come on! I had already completed 40 days and nights of fasting!
Again, all of this happened to Jesus Christ AFTER He had been fasting for forty days and forty nights. These temptations did not occur on the 15th, nor on the 21st, nor on the 39th day of His 40-day fast.
It is amazing the amount of strength and stamina Jesus Christ displayed after having fasted for such a length of time. My choice now is whether to believe and accept this Bible account of the temptation of Jesus or not – that it actually happened – or maybe I should believe Jesus was having a vision of some kind or was in a trance.
I cannot believe He was in a vision or trance because Jesus’ empty stomach would have kept Him very much awake and keen as to what was happening around Him. But, who knows, I could be wrong here.
Also, Jesus was not under some sort of liquid fast where you can drink water but not eat. You may think so since Satan did not tempt Jesus to drink water. Yet, Jesus had gone into a barren desert where there was probably no water! Jesus was very hungry and thirsty. But here again, I could be wrong. Could Jesus have depended on an oasis in the desert here and there while he fasted?
Anyway, here now are my thoughts and speculations on the matter:
1) When Jesus was baptized, He had never sinned before. Never. So what was there for Him to celebrate?
2) Christ, by example, was showing future Christians that Satan will continue tempting them even after they are baptized and become new members of the Body of Christ. Yep.
3) Satan’s goal as he was tempting Jesus, was to destroy Him in the only way he (Satan) understood. Satan wanted to destroy Jesus’ credibility as God. Satan wanted to cause Him to sin and thereby have Him unable to be the unblemished Lamb of God.
4) If Satan tried to destroy Jesus, he likewise will always try to destroy any and all Christians who believe in Christ.
5) This account strongly indicates that people ready to be baptized are already converted. “Converted” as in – born again. Conversion means leaving your old self and becoming a new person by a rebirth. In other words, most persons, before conversion, start believing the Bible and are displaying some amount of faith.
6) After baptism, a Christian, of course, will still reside on this earth. He is not whisked up to heaven or to a paradise. Therefore, he is still in Satan’s territory, Satan’s kingdom and, yes, Satan’s desert.
By the way, Satan’s desert is the lack of the knowledge of God and the Bible. Many people in this world are not drinking the water of Jesus Christ (John 4:1-10) nor eating His Word, the Bible (Matthew 4:4).
7) Christians, after baptism, will still need to fast, pray and use God’s Word, the Bible, to overcome Satan’s temptations. By resisting him (Satan), he will flee from you (James 4:7).
8) A Christian cannot overcome temptation, learn and grow if he does not have faith in the Word of God, the Bible.
If you do not believe this Biblical temptation account and other scriptural accounts that at times come across as incredible to believe, you will have a difficult time overcoming.
9) How can a Christian have greater faith in God and the Bible?
Hint: The Holy Spirit descended onto Jesus while John the Baptist was baptizing Him, right? Well, usually, a Christian will receive the Holy Spirit after baptism which will enable him to become like Jesus Christ – even to the performing of miracles – if God so wills it.
10) Satan was on top of the temple. Was not the temple God’s property? Why was Satan not filled with fear being near or on God’s holy grounds?
Sad to say, Satan infiltrates Christian churches today. A Christian must always be on guard, studying the Word and being close to God.
Also, are not you, as a Christian, God’s temple? Yes, you are (1 Cor. 6:19-20). And even though you are a saint and holy in God’s sight, Satan will not fear approaching you in order to tempt you.
And, are there not “false temples” around us? Are there not false Christian churches? Sadly, yes there are. Satan can lead sheep to them. Many of God’s sheep are in them now. God has His eye on them, I am sure.
Therefore, as far as atheism is concerned, because of having faith and God’s Holy Spirit in me, any thought of me becoming an atheist is out the window. It is difficult to explain this to atheists. Perhaps many of them, in time, will also be led and converted to understand several other”paradoxes” that are found in God’s Word, the Bible, and which I will delve into in future posts.