CHAPTER 37 - Our Tempter Is The Flesh
37 And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?
38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
Does Temptation Have Anything To Do With A Cosmic Satan?
What causes temptation? Finding out the answer to that question is a fantastic step towards understanding Satan is not real. The best resource we have on this is the words of Jesus in the New Testament. The Messiah in no way attributed the fleshly succumbing to temptation as something which came about due to “satanic” influence. In Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion,” we are given the imagery of a very sinister and devious looking evil “thing” skulking around the garden of Gethsemane the night Yeshua was betrayed. The artistic flare with which this type of “satan” was depicted by Gibson and his crew was certainly spine tingling. The hair on the backs of necks were almost seen to stand up at the sight of this pasty rendition of an androgynous demonic entity. However, although images such as these do little to point to the real struggle between good and evil, we could I suppose, believe Mel’s particular expression of the “evil one” was perhaps intended to represent the evil inclination in man.
Yeshua, before He was betrayed, warned Peter to not let the flesh which was weak cause him to fall to temptation. Classic Yeshua here, we are seeing the Incarnate God of the Universe point to man as that which will cause a fall into temptation. There is no statement of “satan” about to tempt Peter. Neither is there any instruction to Peter on how to overcome the temptations that are thought to come from “Satan.” Purely and simply, the flesh, which consists of the mind, will, and emotions of man often led by desire for comfort and pleasure, is the thing potentially going to give Peter trouble.
We will cover it more fully in Volume 4; but James teaches we are tempted by the flesh as well. He tells us that when we endure temptations we are in for a blessing. Now that is a great offer but the place James points to as the seat of temptation comes from inside the person. Each of us has desires and James clearly tells us that we are lured away from doing what might be right, good, or beneficial by our own desires. Here is how it is put in the book of James;
Jas 1:14-15 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
It should be stated that the flesh in this passage is equated with the yetzer ha ra (the evil inclination). That being the case, then the “spirit”, which is the rational soul, is the good inclination in man that desires to do good and overcome the evil inclination.
When Christ pins it down and says the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, the obvious message to Peter might have been; your rational soul that desires good is willing but the part of you that wishes for things opposed to good is going to cause you to be tested. Because the flesh is weak you need to be careful and stay strong through watching and praying.
Bottom line is, for Jesus, James, and all the biblical writers, there is no Satan or any need for a Satan to tempt us weak humans. Our own lusty nature that desires things which might better be left alone, is strong enough to draw us into what is popularly called sin.
Now for a sneak peek at . . .
CHAPTER 38 -
Does It Take Seven Devils To Destroy A Woman? (A Sneak Peek)
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
See commentary on Luke 8
At the end of the book of Mark, we are met with the information that Yeshua had cast seven “devils” out of Mary Magdalene. As in other cases where the phrase “cast out devils” is used, this case is also referring to false ideas, wrong doctrine and unacceptable behaviors. Taking the statement of the 7 demons being cast out of Mary as a literal reference to demons, is all too convenient. The demonologically minded find it easy to land on this encounter as a proof of their idea of the existence of nefarious satanic entities. However, the intention of the statement “he cast out seven devils,” is to speak of the serious illness Mary had or perhaps of the serious error in the doctrine, she ascribed to before sitting under the teaching of Yeshua. Her tutelage under the Messiah was potent enough to liberate her from the false and heretical notions and ideas that were part of her belief system.
The mention of her as one who received the release from illness or false teaching or both, is significant. In that period men were not so familiar with women on an interpersonal level that . . . (
(To read more of this chapter, request your copy of Who's the Devil Jesus Knew?)To
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