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Is it right to be tempted by Devil? (Matthew chap. 4, verse 8)

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them

What does the high mountain on which the devil would have brought Jesus mean? Again the solutions are two: 1. to imagine that the devil, a being in flesh and blood, catches Jesus by the hair, lifts him up and takes him to a very high and unknown mountain; 2. the text is speaking of something else.

The verb to take is in Greek para-lambano. The verb can be also translated ad to transfer, to trasnport. This verb describes a real experience, but not in the physical world, but in the world in which Jesus entered. It is an interior and exterior dimension together. In other words, a dimension that can also become something visible outside through our daily choices and acts.

Only this is the hermeneutical context in which it is possible to understand what this very high mountain is. It is useless to look for it on a map of the Holy Land, because it is a symbol. The mountain represents the center of the world and also the center of oneself, the existential position in which we feel safe. A position from which it is possible to observe everything, keeping the right distances from everyone.

Within this inner but real world the devil acquires all his significance. It is the dia-bolos we often talk about. Someone or something that, in some way, places Jesus on a particularly high vantage point. A place where Jesus had the opportunity to contemplate everything that is opposed to his project entrusted to him by the Father, that is, all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

It is the devil that leads Jesus on this very high mountain. In other words, it is the dia-bolos that places Jesus in a privileged position, at the center. This is not an action that Jesus performs in the first person. Jesus in fact was forced by the dia bolos. It is as if he had accepted this inner proposal to go to the center not of his world but of the center of the diabolos world.

Jesus is at the center of the world, but not of his soul. Jesus can grant himself everything: power, prestige, glory, success. 

If Jesus accept to be lead in this situation, there is a question: is it right to be tempted? If Jesus allowed himself to be led towards dimensions and worlds that did not belong to him, that did not represent his way of living and thinking, that means that we too should not disdain to cross periods of our lives in which we do things that we would never have done and thought?

Life involves continuous choices, positions, obligatory paths, because the conscience suggests to us at that moment to do so and not otherwise. How many stages we cross! Phases in which we make errors – at the eyes of others – phases in which we are quieter, phases in which, finally, we do a synthesis, achieving an higher view of things. Phases, not opposing principles. Stages that can not be called sin and grace, because they are united together by the same and identical project that the Father has for each of us. A unique project that involves different things for each one. The important thing is to not to be afraid of risking, even when life leads us in situations that we don’t like. They are situations that can enrich ourselves …

Simone Venturini

Scrittore

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