|Jesus Tested (Jesus, The Movie)|
Jesus' psychological struggle to choose how to use his powers, what kind of messiah he must be. This scene shows the Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness according to "Jesus – The Movie" (1999), a film which tries to search into the human essence of Jesus in a language easier to understand by today's people.
We often tend to think of Jesus temptations as a mere necessary procedure, but of no consequence for a person like Jesus, who is God (according to Christians). But the Devil tempted not God, but the man in Jesus, his human nature, and if this scene is a milestone in Jesus life, it is because he successfully resisted the temptation, with great effort, we guess, and a temptation is only a temptation if you feel really tempted, if you ever think about submitting to it. If you offered me a cake when I'm hungry, I'd be tempted, because I love cakes. If you offered me a snake when I'm not hungry, personally, I wouldn't be tempted at all, because I don't find your offering attractive. So Jesus did have to think carefully about everything the Devil offered him, because he found those ideas attractive in some way at some moment.
Many of the worst sins and crimes have been committed for a "good cause", for a greater good (so thought Hitler, Stalin and many others). If you want to change society and bring about a better world and you have, or can have, the power to enforce that change, how can you resist that? Hitler didn't, Stalin would have thought it evil to resist.
Basically, what the Devil was proposing Jesus was that he should use his supernatural powers to force the Kingdom of God into humanity whether they want it or not. Why sow the seeds of love, peace and justice and let them slowly grow for centuries on end when you can just shake your hand and have it all enforced right away? Why trying to change the heart of every human being when you can force them to accept love, peace and justice whether they want it or not?
But as Jesus revealed here, he didn't come to this world to baffle humanity with the power of God, but to give example with his life (and death) on how men and women should be, because love, peace and justice have no meaning unless they grow freely out of a willing heart. After all, the point of living in this world is to learn and to grow. Enforcing goodness into people would be like locking them up inside a prison where they are good just because they can't do wrong.
But then again, if you really care about people and you see them hungry and know you can feed them, if you see them dying and know you can save them... wouldn't you use just a little bit of your power... only for a good cause... just a little... well, or maybe a little more if needed... or even the whole of it...?
"Away from me! Satan", said Jesus at the end, but to have the spiritual strength to say that he needed to retire to the wilderness and fast and pray for 40 days. No, sir, it wasn't easy at all.
- Jesus of Nazareth, I baptise you with water for repentance.
- This is my son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.
- Behold, the lamb of God!
- Jesus. Jesus.
- I know you.
- The Spirit has brought you to me. Do you know why?
- To be tested.
- The Spirit has led you here and has allowed you to know what men feel when they are being tested by me. But to do this, you must give up every privilege, you must be like them in every way: as fragile, alone and little as they are. Give up your shield. Abandon the protection of the Power thatabides in you. Empty yourself of your divinity. Empty yourself of the Father, Jesus. Are you willing to feel as men feel, Jesus, without the protection of the Father? You know it is necessary. The Spirit tells you, not me. Only in this way can we challenge each other.
- I am willing.
- Welcome to life, Jesus... You don't look so good, Jesus, are you hungry?
- Command these stones to become loaves of bread.
- You mean, call upon my Father's power?
- You have the power to command these stones, don't you?
- I'm only a son...
- But you have the power.
- ...and if I use it in this way I will fail His mission. He's asked me to bring his word to men, not to crush them with His power.
- I'm just asking for bread to relieve your hunger, Jesus. Men have hungers... Feed your starving people, Jesus.
- Men does not live upon bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
- You're missing the point, Jesus. You have the power to solve mankind's problems. Feed these people, many are starving! You can feed them.
- I was sent to feed them the truth.
- They hunger for bread, Jesus.
- Well, they die of hunger because of the hearts of stone of other men, not because God wills it.
- And you can change all that... And so they are to listen to you, Uhm? Apeasant from Nazareth. You and only you have the truth; sent from God.
- Others have spoken the truth.
- And men have destroyed all of them, for a thousand years. But you, you they will listen to, uh? Why?
- They will.
- And just how will you do that, Jesus? How will you get them to listen to you? ... So I'm going to help you... There is but one way to make them notice you, Jesus, you must convince them that you're sent by God. Throw yourself down, He will command his angels to catch you. Then they will see that you're someone to listen to.
- They would listen then, wouldn't they?
- Oh, they would listen to someone who could do that!
- That's not my Father's will. If He wanted something to test His laws, Nature's laws, he would not have sent me. Don't test God for your own purposes.
- Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus of Jerusalem, Jesus of Egypt, Jesus of Bethany, Jesus of Bethlehem. Where else have you been, Jesus?
- No. So you cannot understand the stakes. Let me show you... Power, Jesus, power. Not second in command, but number one. You've never felt that power, I have. You've never been able to, until now. Now you can be Number 1! Do you know what that means, Jesus?
- Power is what every man wants more than anything else in the world. They kill for it. There is nothing more precious. And it is yours to have.
- Bow down to me, Jesus, just once. In all of existence, before and after time, just once, Jesus. It's a small price. Consider the reward.
- Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'worship the Lord, your God, and serve only Him'. I will not create a human kingdom by becoming the most powerful, but by being the poorest. For I am the lamb of God.
- See you again, Jesus. It's only just begun.
The English name "Jesus" comes from Latin "Iesus", which comes from Greek "Iesous", which is the transliteration of the Aramic word "Yesuah", which comes from the Hebrew name "Yehosua" ("Joshuah" in modern English, "Josué" in modern Spanish, etc) which means "Yahweh rescues", that is, "God saves".
REPENTANCE= The act of repenting. To repent is to regret the wrong you have done plus a will to change your wicked ways and be good again. When John the Baptised preached about repentance, he was talking about the need for a complete change in your life, so baptising was a symbol for cleaning all your past wrongs and starting again a new life with a new purpose.
BELOVED= /bɪlʌvɪd/ Dear, precious, loved.
WHOM= After preposition we don't use the form "who" but "whom".
BEHOLD= (old fashioned) Look!
In modern English we still say "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" (beholder = a person who beholds, who looks). This proverb means that beauty is not an inherent quality somebody has, but an aesthetic judgement somebody else makes on your appearance, so even people generally considered ugly may look beautiful to some other people.
THE LAMB OF GOD= Jesus.
This theological concept of Jesus as "the lamb of God" is very important to understand what happened with Jesus. For centuries, the Jews had been waiting for the coming of a Messiah, a leader sent by God who would liberate them and who would start a kingdom of love and justice for them. In Jesus' times, with Judea harshly oppressed by the Roman Empire, most people believed or hoped the Messiah would be a king or a warrior who would fight the Romans away and liberate them politically. Some others, not many, thought that the Messiah's liberation might be of a different kind, a deeper liberation, liberation from the bondage of sin and death. And probably only a few of them, if any, thought of the Messiah as "the servant of God", as Isaiah had described it about 500 years before:
"He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins - that he was suffering their punishment? He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man's grave." (Isaiah 53, fragment)
So when John the Baptists said "Behold, the lamb of God", he suddenly was recognising in Jesus the Messiah, and more than that, a Messiah who came as the "lamb" prophesized about by Isaiah; not the expected warrior, but the humble and peaceful servant of God.
THE SPIRIT= The Holy Spirit (also called "The Holy Ghost"), that is, God.
In the Trinitarian Christian view of the nature of God, God is considered to be one only being but possessing three different manifestations: 1- The Father, 2- Jesus (the Son) and 3- The Holy Spirit. All three manifestations are the same one and only God, but they can interact with each other and with others. Jesus became flesh and lived here on earth as a full man, so he could show us the way. While he was a man, he had to go through the usual problems and limitations any other man had to face, finding his way to God, being God as he was himself. ("Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect" Hebrews 2:17)
GIVE UP= If you give up something, you decide to stop having it or using it or doing it.
- You smoke a lot. You should give up smoking before it's too late.
- I'm on a diet so I had to give up sweets and cakes.
SHIELD= A shield was a piece of armour held in your had to cover you and protect you from the sword of the enemy (see picture). Metaphorically, your shield is your protection, whatever keeps you safe from outside dangers.
ABIDES= (old fashion or literary) Lives, inhabits.
ARE YOU WILLING...?= Do you want...?
The word "willing" comes from the verb "will", a verb that often conveys the idea of volition, so it's similar to "want":
- Will you come to my party? (invitation) = Do you want to come to my party?
- I don't know, and she won't tell me = She refuses (doesn't want) to tell me
You will find more examples of this "will" expressing volition in this text, together with the "will" expressing future:
- Wait here and you will see = if you wait here, you're going to see what I mean.
CAN WE= When we begin a sentence with the word "only" or "not only", we usually invert the order of Subject+Verb:
- Only today did I see her = I saw her today for the first time, I didn't see her until today.
- Not only can you sing well, but you also can dance beautifully!
COMMAND= (formal) Order.
LOAVES= plural of "loaf". A loaf of bread is a unit of bread, the complete object. If you break a loaf into pieces, you have pieces of bread. (see picture)
UPON= (old fashioned or literary) On. If you "call on" something, you summon it, you order or request it to perform something.
CRUSH= Destroy or stress by pressure (for example you can crush an orange to make orange juice).
STARVING= If someone is starving, they are dying because they have no food. We also use it metaphorically to say that we are very very hungry.
YOU'RE MISSING THE POINT= You don't understand the real message of this conversation/situation.
MANKIND= Humanity, all men and women, the human species.
As we said above, you often use "will" to express volition (= want). But in the past the verb WILL was the Saxon word for volition, and then the verb WANT came with the Viking invasions to mean the same, so WILL began to be used to express future and other ideas, though very often retaining the original volition meaning. Nevertheless, that ancient WILL which was not an auxiliary but a normal verb meaning "want", still survives, though it sounds very formal or old-fashioned:
- Do as you will = Do whatever you want.
- He wills to help you (old fashioned)= He's willing to help you = He wants to help you.
- Will you help me? = Do you want to help me?
- If you will come, I will tell you = the first WILL means "want", and the second expresses future: if you want to come, I'm going to tell you.
PEASANT= /pezənt/ A poor country person; a low-class labourer, especially those who work in the fields.
MY FATHER'S WILL= God's desire, what God wants.
Here "will" is a noun, and it means something similar to: desire, determination, wish.
- Your will is my command = I'll do anything you want (anything you want to do, your will, is like an order I receive to do it and please you).
- This is an old copy of Shakespeare's last will = your last will is a legal document where you write down instructions to be carried out after you die, especially how your possessions should be shared among your family and friends.
FOR YOUR OWN PURPOSES= To get a personal benefit.
THE STAKES= The way the situation works, "the game", how things are.
SECOND IN COMMAND= If you are second in command, you are the second most powerful person, but there is still a person more powerful above you, so you can give orders to all the rest, but that person above you can give orders to you.
BOW DOWN= To lower your head (or body) as a sign of respect, reverence or worship.
REWARD= A compensation or gratification you get for doing something.
AWAY WITH YOU= Go away from me.
SATAN= One of the names of the Devil, its most common name. Satan is the spirit of evil, he represents evil as opposed to good. Some consider Satan a real being, an evil spirit who can't confront God, but who is free to act in this material world to test people and try them. Others consider him a metaphor for the evil part of us, that "wicked voice" inside our head who pushes us to do wrong.
BY + -ING= We use the preposition BY followed by -ING when we want to express how to do something. Compare:
- He opened the door listening to music = He was listening to music when he opened the door.
- He opened the door by pressing a button = He pressed a button to open the door (how did he open the door? - by pressing a button)