Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, September 2, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

The Son And The Temptation
by David Harwood

I see a parallel between the Son and the patriarch’s exercise of faith.

Yeshua’s confession of His coming resurrection and the description of the Messiah’s private petitions remind me of Abram.

Abram boasted in God to the king of Sodom. That was closely followed by his communication with God when he was with him face-to-Face.

Publicly, Abram essentially said, “It is God that prospers me. Keep your money, Sodom’s king. My God provides.” Shortly thereafter, God said to Abram privately: “You shall have a child, you shall inherit all this land.” And Abram replied in secret: “God, how shall I know that this will come to pass?”

Abram was bold before people.

He was vulnerable before God.

Here is the parallel I see: Yeshua boldly said, “The Son of Man shall be raised from the dead.” (Matthew 17:9) That was His public confession similar to Abram’s confession of confidence before Sodom’s king. However, in the secret place perhaps something similar to how Abram related to God transpired. Working with this pattern, consider that, sobbing, (Hebrews 5:7) Yeshua may have cried out:

“Father, how shall I KNOW that I shall be raised from the dead?”

“Strengthen me to continue to rely upon You.

“I trust You, Father, increase My faith!”

Is that implausible?

Look at this description of the Messiah’s growth:

And Yeshua kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)

Do you think that growth stopped after Yeshua entered into His ministry? Of course not.

On top of everything else, Yeshua had to consistently confront and overcome the devil. The paradigm temptation is found when the adversary first attacked Yeshua in the matter of the Messiah’s identity: “If You are the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:3,6) After Satan’s attack on the Messiah’s identity was rebuffed he tempted the Son concerning His mission. The devil assaulted the way of the cross.

Again, the devil takes Him to a very high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8–9)

The Messiah knew that He was predestined to suffer before He entered His inheritance. He knew what awaited Him at Golgotha. Satan offered Him an alternative: “To come into your destiny all you need to do is worship me.” Yeshua was tested by this temptation to reject the cross.

This trial transpired in the wilderness. The next significant temptation took place in Caesarea Philippi. In contrast to the wilderness, this lush location had an abundance of water and prosperity. In a completely different environment Yeshua faced the same temptation He confronted in the wilderness.

Speaking of the wilderness, on the Day of Atonement a scapegoat was driven there for Azazel. (Leviticus 16:8-10) Azazel might be a name for a wicked spirit. Maybe not. However, 1 Enoch uses Azazel as a name for a demon and so I think it is a possibility.

The Lord identified the wilderness as a location of demonic activity. The wilderness was known as a waterless place.

“Now when an unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places looking for rest and doesn’t find it. (Matthew 12:43)

Caesarea Philippi (not a wilderness) was where Baal was worshipped for centuries. Later, when the Greeks took over, it was dedicated to the “deity” Pan, the flute playing god of fear (i.e. panic). It was imagined to look like a satyr. Satyrs were understood to be debauched, immoral creatures. Pan, prince of satyrs, was worshiped there.

It was there that Yeshua’s identity was revealed by the Living God. It was there that He commended Peter. It was there He declared that He would build His community. It was there that He prophesied His crucifixion and resurrection.

It was there that He was tempted.

The first temptation took place after Father declared His identity. This second trial was after the Messiah’s true identity was revealed by Father through Peter.

I’m looking forward to sharing with you some of the reality behind the scenes in the Messiah’s temptation in Caesarea

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 2 Sep 2023 16th of Elul, 5783 Parashat Ki Tavo
De 29:2-9[1-8] Isa 60:1-22 Ro 8:31-39