An Account of Jesus' TemptationWritten by Scot Aaron
This account will penetrate various spiritual dimensions of Jesus' temptation in wilderness of Judea. Experience purity of Jerusalem's temple, greed of moneychangers, lustful opulence of kings and rulers, brutality of war, humility of servants, subtlety of Satan's ploys, and ultimately Jesus' triumph. Then, reflect upon today's immorality and materialism! ____________________________
An Account of Jesus' Temptation
In this article I will recreate a known experience from life of Jesus, temptation in wilderness. According to Bible in Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus' temptation was said to occur after John Baptist baptized Jesus. From here Jesus went alone into wilderness for what was claimed to be a forty-day fast. The devil was said to tempt Jesus here. By telling story in my own words, I hope to clarify spiritual depths within experience.
Jesus walked up to river wherein John was baptizing fellow Jews. When a willing soul is submerged, flowing water brought a purifying effect. The entire body felt cleansed, inside and out; or so this was what John taught. The experience confirmed reality of scriptures referring to “living water.” It was as if John’s hand was hand of God that could lift every burden from soul. Even men would shed tears after their baptism. The warmth of sun, smells from nearby fires, hushed reverence, and taste of river water on lips were memorable experiences, well worth journey to see John Baptist.
When Jesus partook of experience, an immediate bond formed with John. As eyes met, they clearly recognized their responsibilities. They were alive to glorify God. With this, Jesus experienced living water. When underwater Jesus’ presence seemed to extend throughout river. More than connecting to source within every stream, water discovered its true solace within tides of every sea. It seemed as if Jesus recognized struggle of every effort, lifted as beads of water evaporating to form billowing clouds that fertilized life within every raindrop.
As Jesus rose from water, his eyes released tears. Some people clearly recognized sacredness of occasion. The atmosphere became alive. The glory of God’s Creation shone. Every aspect of life was precious, yet others easily found diversion and distractions. How many never experienced precious moment or too easily forgot its worth? John was so well known that people came just because of his name. Then there were a few that hid conspiratorial thoughts. Others sought to take advantage of easy targets. Who was focused on attractive women coming fresh out from water? How many were there to catch John at improprieties? Jesus could pinpoint ones spying on John, waiting to report any improper remarks against Jewish or Roman authority.
Rather than being disturbed by many people around or questions asked by his friends, Jesus left for wilderness. Here he could completely commune with God and know more of what would be expected of him. He needed to understand -- within depths of his soul -- how to best serve God. Ever since a boy he knew that he had something very special to do for God. At age of twelve he felt weight and responsibilities of High Priests in temple. It was within those consecrated walls of temple that all sins were atoned for. The sacred name and words of God seemed clear, as if he was meant to interpret them. Yes, he would fill Scriptures with life.
Jesus would remain in solitude until God clearly revealed his will -- regardless of how long it took. Going without food or water heightened his spiritual awareness. When he was one with himself and one with God, he would feel and know intent within all scripture. Here he could commune with living prophets, prophets as alive as John baptizing in river, or prophets risen to heaven and alive with God like Enoch or Elijah.
The longer he thought, more he concentrated on temple. Here he could experience a direct connection with unblemished lamb brought for a sacrifice. This creature was so soft and fragile. Innocence and purity were within its eyes. For a moment lamb would almost smile from attention of being treated extra special. A presence of royalty filled atmosphere, as if everything was perfect. Then suddenly a firm grip clutched neck. Fear overtook small body in time to stare into sharp knife ready to sacrifice lamb’s life. Rather than end there, an amazing change swept through entire temple. Blood was poured on altar. Sacred flames consumed body in a brilliant blaze. The smell of incense mingled with lamb meat. Scripture flowed from mouth of priest. The presence of God filled temple, drifting to pinnacle where true power of God met aspirations within every heart.
God felt close, as if Jesus could reach out and touch his Father in Heaven. In this moment Heaven was upon earth. Everybody whom Jesus recognized going in and out of temple seemed like his own blood, like brothers and sisters he missed yet hadn’t seen for years. He felt tears of this homecoming. Each tear was a precious treasure. Here God’s glory filled hearts of everyone around, consummating each thought within blaze of God’s perfection. People gladly gave all of money that they had for purity of this experience. God’s love was real.
Then a dark mist seeped along ground and into floors of temple. As Jesus recognized greed and deceit within hearts of priests working in temple, shadows consumed altar. Loud screams came from courtyard where moneychangers lied about value and exchange rates of different currencies. The glow from temple seemed swallowed up. Chants of murder were heard. Within this darkness value of human life became worthless, to be pawned at whims of rulers. Here, a fierce knot tightened in Jesus’ stomach and for an extended moment he felt pain of real hunger.
Desire and longing propelled Jesus high above evening lights of Jerusalem. He could peer in luxuriant houses of wealthy, or opulent lives lived by kings. Being surrounded by so much physical pleasure evoked scent of gorgeous women, dressed in finest silks that revealed smoothest curves of seemingly perfect bodies created by God. The smell of perfumes upon soft flesh filled his heart with an intense need to touch and hold such sweetness. These virgins were reserved especially for king. Then suddenly Jesus noticed innocence and purity of a simple servant girl. Seeking God’s confirmation of such an exquisite being, Jesus lifted his eyes towards God.
How could such priceless humility exist? Here was a girl whose only care was to serve her master. Though her parent’s servitude kept her from being one of king’s wives, she served her master with undying devotion. From this view Jesus saw how love, honesty, and complete fidelity of this servant girl became true motivation that inspired king to perform any righteous action. It was here that Jesus recognized goodness in ordinary people who slaved their entire lives to provide a meager sustenance for their families. Mothers and fathers who loved God tried to do everything right as they labored to provide some opportunity for their children. Then children neglected their own ambitions to work and care for sick parents. Jesus realized light of God within so many good, honest people. Then as if in a flash of thunder, entire families were ravaged, left dead in wiles of war.
The Christian-Muslim Conflict: From Scripture to Religions! Written by Scot Aaron
Scriptures from Bible and Koran contradict one another! Should members of these powerful religions have conflict? This article examines foundation of Christianity and Islam to discover that conflict and possible resolution begins there. ______________________________
The Christian-Muslim Conflict!
Is there really a conflict between Christians and Muslims? There were said to be nine crusades from 1095-1272. This was where Christians got together to fight against Muslims. What is happening in world today? Maybe we should take a look at Christian Bible and Muslim Koran before tensions escalate too far? Millions of people revere writers of these sacred books. The question is, can and will this promote love and respect between neighbors in differing religions?
Have you ever asked yourself who actually wrote New Testament and Koran? Should you examine foundation of Christianity, known from writers of New Testament? Many of Paul's epistles are recognized by Biblical scholars as actual letters, first written some 18 years (about 51 AD) after Jesus died. Paul clearly states that he never physically met Jesus. Paul only mentions three of apostles by name (Galatians 1:18-20, 2:9)! When it comes to meeting Peter, as Jesus' key apostle, Paul states: "When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in wrong..." (Galatians 2:11)
Early letters and other writings do exist from those referred to as “Apostolic Fathers,” yet apostles are not mentioned by name. (Papias was 'quoted' as having mentioned Matthew; see footnote below.) Beyond writing more of New Testament than any other, Paul, in fact, appears to be primary spokesmen for what became Christianity, even according to Apostolic Fathers.
"I exhort you all, therefore, to yield obedience to word of righteousness, and to exercise all patience, such as ye have seen before your eyes, not only in case of blessed Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others among yourselves, and in Paul himself, and rest of apostles. ... If a man does not keep himself from covetousness, he shall be defiled by idolatry, and shall be judged as one of heathen. But who of us are ignorant of judgment of Lord? 'Do we not know that saints shall judge world?' as Paul teaches. But I have neither seen nor heard of any such thing among you, in midst of whom blessed Paul laboured." [From Chapters 9 and 11 of “The Letter of Polycarp to Philippians,” see footnote 1.]
The main objective of later Biblical writers -- including writers of Gospels -- was to make traditions fit together and convince others that Jesus was Christ, chosen Messiah. Was this viewpoint of Jesus intolerant of other faiths? The Christocentric view is stressed in oft-quoted John 14:6 where Jesus was claimed to have said, “I am way and truth and life. No one comes to Father except through me.”
For more than a thousand years large majority of Christians (strongly) believed that all non-Christians would eternally suffer in hell. For some, this has given Christians right to coerce and even murder. Currently, many Christians may understand that all good people with or without religion can worship God in their hearts. The priority of love and compassion can save people from damnation. It seems that anyone can go “through Jesus” (referring to scripture above) by accepting what Jesus established as priorities in life.
The New Testament stresses to “Love God with all of your heart and mind, and your neighbor like yourself.” Christianity has great spiritual power through example of Jesus. Good individuals in every religious tradition have loved God, at least their understandings of God. Love and compassion are experienced throughout world; however, abuse in name of religion is also a very real experience.
Muhammad was founding prophet of Islam. If a Muslim, you believe that Muhammad is seal of prophets.  As authoritative seal, his prophecies or revelations provide complete and final truths. As people questioned authority of prophecies that were developed and expressed throughout months and years of Muhammad’s life, further revelations sought to clarify given situations.
"When we change one verse for another — God knows best what He reveals — they say: 'You [Muhammad] are an impostor.' Indeed most of these people do not understand. Say: 'The Holy Spirit brought revelation down from God in truth, in order to strengthen faithful, and to give guidance and good news to those that submit.' We know they say: 'A mortal taught him.' But man to whom they allude speaks a foreign tongue,  while this is pure, clear Arabic. God will not guide those who disbelieve that these are His revelations. Woeful punishment awaits disbeliever." (Koran 16.101-104)
Muhammad's viewpoint of Jesus' divine authority clearly contradicts what mainstream Christians believe!
"They say, 'We killed Christ, Jesus son of Mary, apostle of God.' They did not kill him nor did they crucify him, though it appeared to them so. Those that disagree in matter are lost in doubt. They have no knowledge about it other than conjecture, for surely God did not kill him." (Koran 4:157-158)