When we look at the temptations in Matthews chapter 4, and the responses of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is tempting to think that the responses of Jesus were “obvious”. But the reality is that the responses were not obvious. There was real pressure that could have resulted in something different.
Recently, I sat on a panel where we were requested to interview some people for a certain important task. The people that had been shortlisted were all very senior and knowledgeable in the field. However, because of the pressure, they gave strange responses to what we thought were obvious questions, looking for obvious answers.
When we read about “the temptation” of Jesus, we see that the devil was not joking, he meant business. This was not business as usual. It was serious. Spending forty days and nights without food? The devil knew Jesus was hungry and needed food. The other two temptations touched on pertinent issues too. Proving that one was VVIP (very, very important person) in the eyes of God the Father and “gaining” power! Just think of the way in which the children and relations of most presidents and other renowned leaders carry themselves.
This was one of the times when Jesus (the human) was vulnerable. Have you ever done something you knew you should not have done, but blamed it on the situation? Jesus could have easily fallen prey to the devil and blamed the situation. The fact that Jesus did not give in shows that he was determined to obey and do the will of His Father at all costs.
A vulnerable person can easily be taken advantage of. Watching television, listening to the radio, attending some Christian meetings or crusades, I sometimes wonder whether some of these things do not depict situations where the vulnerable are being taken advantage of. Orphans, widows and people living with HIV and AIDS are some of the groups in our communities that can easily be taken advantage of. This could be through making them do things they would not do if they were not in that situation.
In the temptations, the devil wanted to get glory out of the situation Jesus was in. When we serve others through the organisations we work in or our own initiatives, we need to be careful not to behave like the devil – let us not ask the people to do things they would not do had they not been vulnerable.
I have a feeling that some of us involved in issues to do with the marginalized members of our societies, such as HIV and AIDS, gender and others, might at times behave like the devil! We would like to be worshipped in our own ways by the people we serve. Am I suggesting that we should not talk about the good work God is doing through us? No! The question is; “What is our motive and who gets the glory?”
To think about: What motivates you in the good work that you do in serving others?
Written by: Lloyd Khanyanga, CABSA representative – Malawi