Gnostic Doctrine

Friday, 14 September 2018

A Window Into Psychological Mind Of Jesus

A Window Into The Mind Of Jesus

The personification of the sinful temptations in the Lord Jesus's heart as a person called 'the devil' shows how clearly His mind was divided between flesh and spirit-

 A Psychological approach to the wilderness temptations suggests that the more in touch with themselves a person is, the more clearly they will be able to see themselves from outside themselves; the greater the distance they are able to place between them and the 'self' whom they analyse and dialogue with in self-examination. Much of our self-talk is vague; that of the Lord Jesus was specific and focused. He was the man ultimately in touch with Himself.

- His 'adversary', His own mind, quoted the scriptures to Himself 

- There is the implication that it took the Lord 40 days to overcome the Devil, at which point the Devil departed. This is more easily understood in terms of an internal battle, than a literal struggle against a supernatural being. And the fact it took 40 days shows how hard was the struggle for the Lord.

The temptation of Jesus (Matt. 4) took place within Himself. The place of overcoming is within the consciousness of man.

It may well be argued that the language of the wilderness temptations implies there was physical movement going on, e.g. the tempter came to Jesus and led Him away. We now consider how such language is relevant to our evil desires inside our mind.

“And when the tempter came to Him...”

The records of the temptations of our Lord seem to indicate that the ‘devil’ which tempted Him was His internal nature rather than an external tempter. However, some have found problems with this view - not least because the tempter is described as “coming to” Jesus and leading Him. The purpose of this study is to show that temptation and desire are often described in terms of physical movement, thus enabling us to analyze them in a way which is easier to visualize than to describe them in purely abstract terms.

We know that our Lord “was tempted in every point like as we are” (Heb. 4:15); and “every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts (desires) and enticed” (James 1:14). For Jesus to be tempted like us, He had to go through the same process of temptation as we do. So to some extent He also was “drawn away” by the evil desires - the ‘devil’ - which He had within Him. This would explain why the devil is described as taking Jesus into Jerusalem and into a mountain; this “taking” is the same as being “drawn away” in James 1.

This association of our evil desires with the idea of physical movement is picked up frequently in the New Testament. “Lead us not into temptation” (Mt. 6:13) is a case in point. We are led by our evil desires, as Jesus was to a small extent in the wilderness; and yet God is ultimately in control of these things. He is greater than our evil desires, and is able to stop them leading us, to “keep us from falling” (note the connection of temptation and physical movement again).

Foolish are “led captive...led away by various lusts...led away with the error of the wicked” (2 Tim. 3: 6; 2 Pet. 3:17). Jesus was not led by the devil - His lusts which He shared with us - as much as these people. But nevertheless, the same basic idea of sin leading us in order to tempt us was true of Him. The Greek word translated “taketh” in Matthew 4 in relation to Jesus being taken by the devil is used both figuratively and literally (Strong).

Similarly, the Devil ‘coming’ to Jesus can also be subjective; again, Strong says the Greek word for ‘coming’ can be used either figuratively or literally . It is translated ‘consent’ in 1 Timothy 6: 3 - some “consent” not to wholesome words”.

Hebrews 12:1 describes “sin which so easily entangles us”, as if sin - the devil - comes up to us and entangles us. The language of Revelation 20 regarding the devil and satan being loosed and going out throughout the world now falls into place, once it is appreciated that the diabolism - our evil desires - are likened to coming to people.

We often stress how Jesus answered each temptation by quoting Scripture, as if the whole experience was a living demonstration of Psalm 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee”. Although Jesus had the word in His heart, He had our lusts, and for a brief moment it was possible that “ the lusts of other things entering in” (Mk. 4:19 ) could try to choke that word, even in His heart.

For them to try to enter in, they must come to us; and thus the devil - those lusts - came to Jesus. The parable of the sower equates all the various reasons for failure to produce fruit, seeing they all have the same effect. Satan coming to take away the word from the new convert is parallel, therefore, to “the lusts of other things entering in (choking) the word” (Mk. 4: 15 & 19). These lusts originate from our nature - their entering in to the heart from our nature is the same as 'Satan coming'.

- Nathan’s parable about David’s sin with Bathsheba blamed the act on a traveller coming to David asking to be satisfied. The traveller of the parable represented David’s lusts which led to adultery and murder (2 Sam.12: 4), although both these come “from within, out of the heart of man” (Mk. 7:20-23).

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