Sunday, June 22, 2014

RYBS: Catalog of Immaculate Practices and Procedures

Read Your Bible Series - Week Seven

Baptisms and Temptations

For this week's discussion, I'd like to cover a few verses where the Bible apparently implies that the divine being has its own, "Catalog of Immaculate Practices and Procedures", or CIPAP for short, that even Jesus (or God?) himself (or itself?) had to follow.

Starting with Matthew 3, verse 13:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
John "The Baptist" had a really good point there, no?  If Jesus was his God in human form, why does he need to be baptized?  Just a few verses before these, in Matthew 3 verses 5 and 6, the writer of Matthew explains:
People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
These two verse state that people confessed their sins and then were baptized by John.  Jesus had no sin, thus required no baptism.  But then what does Jesus mean when he says, "... it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness"?  That would suggest that in order for Jesus to be fully righteous, he has to get baptized to wash away his sins.  Right there, Jesus admits that while it seems absurd, it's procedure, and the CIPAP has to be followed to the letter.

This whole dialogue between Jesus and John reminds me of a scene in Galaxy Quest where Jesus is essentially a frustrated Gwen DeMarco:
"Look, I have ONE job on this lousy planet... it's STUPID, but I'm gonna do it. OKAY!?!"
Speaking of procedure, right after Jesus is baptized, he is escorted into a wilderness by "the Spirit" to be tempted by Satan himself:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
First of all Jesus... you can't count the fasting thing because you did that to yourself.  Second, how is asking a magician to give away his tricks a temptation?  Had Satan bothered to offer an actual loaf of freshly baked bread instead of coming to such an important event like this one empty handed, then THAT would have been a valid temptation.

Besides, asking Jesus to do all the work is just plain lazy, Satan.  Not to mention you just gives Jesus the upper hand.

Did you notice how these verses portray an air of impatience from Jesus, as if this is all too easy?  But give Jesus some credit, he's just following the CIPAP!

And now, temptation number two:
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
'He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Okay, give us a break, Jesus.  How is this a temptation?  Satan has to be the least creative super angel being that I have ever read about!  You tempt a guy by telling him to hurl himself off of a building?  Even I could say no to that one, Satan.

But then again, procedures are procedures...  and in order to do his job, Jesus had to be tempted by Satan.

Finally, the writer of Matthew wraps it up with number three:
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
This is the only temptation that Jesus totally missed a perfect opportunity to slam Satan for being a complete idiot.  How can Satan give away something that does not belong to him?  This would be like me trying to sell my house to the bank that holds my mortgage!  Instead, Jesus spews some silly verse about worshiping himself...  I mean, come on Jesus!  You already created the heavens and the Earth.  Why not rub Satan's nose in it a bit?

Ugh, I bet Jesus figured that out later and was kicking himself for not laying down that zinger.

One tiny thing before we wrap this up.  Now, I know I'm not the only one that thinks that surely one of those angels brought Jesus a sandwich.  Well...  unless, of course, Jesus was bright enough to recognize the loophole he gets in the whole "fasting" thing by just miraculously creating bread in his stomach or perhaps magically creating ATP for his cells...

But then again, this is the CIPAP we're talking about here, and even Jesus had to stick to his father's (or his?) blessed administrative protocols.

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