If you are…..
Jesus is in the wilderness and gets into a double-dog-dare fight with the tempter, the devil . The devil tries to erase, silence and ignore Jesus’ true identity. Because that is what the devil does!
The devil isolates Jesus and then systematically tells him, he lacks identity (Madeline L’engle calls this process unmaking someone)
Mocking Jesus’ identity as the Son of God, the devil does his work, telling Jesus that if he’s really the Son of Man he should be able to make bread appear.
The devil is tricky, tell us what we should be able to do. How true is that today? How often have I felt people saying to me “Are you a woman of God?” If anyone says that to me I’m silently cursing in my head, because I KNOW what follows is going to be doubt-infusing-gaslighting. The most memorable one to date was “Because a woman of God would dress appropriately and not wear a slutty skirt” I was the celebrant for a wedding at the time and had disrobed to my shirt and skirt which went down past my knees.
It makes me think of my bi, asexual, trans and aromantic-sibs who are told they don’t even exist.
The devil then takes it a step further, trying to say that God made you to be hurt, therefore God doesn’t love you.
God doesn’t really love you Jesus because…..
if God loved you, you could throw yourself off a cliff and die. Telling Jesus that if God lets him die, God doesn’t love him HAS to hurt, because we all know what is going to happen to Jesus.
Jesus dies. How do we square this with our sibs of color who are systematically told they were made to be hurt? That its not our fault they were made inferior (oh my soul, its hard to confess this). How often do we rationalize lack of love? How often do we equate it to God not loving them either?
The devil is doing his work.
Then, the final temptation, is misdirection. The devil tell Jesus that he will give him everything, if Jesus but worships the devil. Ignoring Jesus’ identity as God. Jesus’ answer is the worship of God: the very thing the Devil is trying to silence in Jesus.
Erasing, ignoring and silencing is what the devil wants.
Jesus continues to ground his identity in God’s very being. Knowing who God is, Jesus knows who he is. Nothing more life-affirming than that.