From Gavin’s desk 01/03/2020
Readings: Genesis 2: 15-17, 3: 1-7, Psalm 32, Romans 5: 12-19, Matthew 4: 1-11
Can a two year old tell the difference between a good decision and a bad decision before they make the decision or before they suffer the consequences of their decision? How will they know not to touch the hot stove before someone has told them not to touch the hot stove? Even after they burn their fingers would they know the reason their fingers burned or would they just know that when I touch a hot stove my fingers hurt a lot; and so I will not put my fingers on the hot stove again. Will they know not to do that with everything that gets hot or will they only know not to do that on the hot stove they burned themselves on and so have to re-learn the same lesson on the kettle and tumble drier and the hair dryer and the car that has been standing in the sun all day long? Does a two year old have the capacity to understand cause and effect? Do they have the capacity to connect the dots in order to generalise information to cover a range of events?
Whatever the answer to those questions, a two year old would most definitely need someone around who was explaining the connections to them and helping them understand cause and effect and the extrapolation of results to other similar circumstances. How would they know that some action had a particular consequence in any given situation unless someone explained it? They may not understand fully, but they would know that there is a connection and they would hopefully trust that person enough to not have to test that connection out. How would they know that their actions affect everyone around them if someone did not help them understand that the sun does not revolve around them and that they are a small, yet significant, part of something so much bigger than themselves?
We all need someone to help us see a purpose that is so much more than ourselves. We all need someone to help us connect the dots and make sense of the way things are and how they got to be there and how to change what is not good and enhance whatever is good. In Christ we find how possible it is to see more to life than what we see when we are our own teacher; in Christ we learn to live as a part of something bigger than ourselves. In each of His temptations, which would be the areas He would struggle with throughout His ministry; Christ would be justified in embracing the temptation and following the natural path into sin. It would be perfectly excusable to want to satisfy His own desires at the expense of the whole, or to prove to the leaders and people that He had the power and authority of God, or to even short cut the system and so doing avoid the suffering and death He would face. It may be excusable but it would be in conflict with the purpose of His birth. He was born to redeem humanity; He was born to go the distance and He was born to be faithful to the process. The consequence of submitting to any of His temptations would result in humanity not being redeemed, and the people of God would walk around their own wilderness for ever and never find their way back into the Garden of Eden because there would not be anyone who could show them the way. Christ knew that He was a part of something so much bigger than Himself and He chose to live His life and die His death for the benefit of that purpose. Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life and it is in Him that we find the way, that we find the truth and that we find life. It is in Christ that we find our purpose.