Often times one’s greatest weakness is their strength gone too far. People of character and integrity rarely sin against their strong points. Their challenge is to keep their strength within God pleasing boundaries. “Jesus, abuse your authority and command angels to accomplish your every whim.” Satan invites. Jesus’ second desert test is to abuse his authority.
An elderly and feeble person volunteers as a crosswalk monitor at a local school. Moving toward the student crossing is a huge, powerful and heavy eighteen wheeler. Out steps the crosswalk volunteer with a humble, six sided, red sign with the word, STOP. Does the truck have power to drive through the crosswalk? Yes. However, the crosswalk volunteer has all the authority.
Our Lord’s first desert test was the urging to misuse His power. His second test is by invitation to abuse His authority. All creation knew of the authority of the God/man in that desert experience. God knew, Jesus knew, satan knew and the angels knew. His authority is unquestioned.
Power has to do with capacity, strength, energy and force. Authority is very different, although related, to power. Authority flows in the arena of legal and moral responsibility, being placed in position to direct and being the one with the greatest knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
Jesus’ second desert test stands on at least two legs. First, the Man without sin was prodded to activate His authority for self and second, to do so for show. Self and show are the big juicy carrots outside God’s boundaries for authority.
From my perspective, the desert tempter is who and what he is because he rebelled against Jesus’ power and authority in eternity past. “And there was war in heaven,” reveals the power component while “the Prince of the powers of the air” shows the authority.
“I lost the war for power and authority. Let me see if I can get the King of the universe to lose His power and authority by misuse and abuse in my little sphere of influence.” Satan may have thought.
This test sought to invert reality. Jesus points out, “Satan, you have this backwards (again), you don’t test God. God tests you. I will only use my Father’s authority in keeping with His will. I refuse to abuse His authority for self and show.”
Self and show are still tricky invitations of the enemy to each Christian in our world of today. Each follower of Jesus is endued with a measure of Father God’s power and authority. His authority and power is in us for His purposes and will not for selfish ambition and impressive fireworks.
With Jesus in the desert we will discover significant pressure to misuse and abuse Father God’s power and authority.
Do I release the Father’s authority in me for self or for the Savior?
Do i activate Father’s authority for show or in humble service?
May we always remember: God tests us. We don’t test God. And He can put on His own show, if He so chooses.