Plot twists force us to rethink everything in light of what’s been true from the beginning. This is what makes plot twists so interesting. In the prologue of John’s Gospel, Jesus is the “Word” that changes everything. He is the new twist to the plot that redefines everything.
No matter how prepared we think we are, we are never quite prepared for the shock of resurrection. We must not domesticate the event. It is wild and untamed, unforeseen and unexpected. It casts its shadow (or better, light) on all that precedes it. Easter should always come as a surprise. Yet it is the only event that makes sense of all that Jesus taught.
“All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” The tempter invites Jesus to secure the cooperation of the nations through the tried and true way of political force; to use questionable means – the ways of the world – for good ends. And the force of the temptation – its main allure to Jesus – was that this kind of power works!
If the tempter can’t get Jesus to sin through lack of faith, he’ll seek to get Jesus to fall because of his great faith. He says, “So you trust God, do you? Enough to place your safety completely in God’s hands? If you really trust God, jump from a great height. For if God is truly trustworthy nothing bad can ever happen to you. Right? Isn’t that what the scriptures teach?”
What could be so wrong with a hungry man turning stones into bread? This temptation is not nearly as benign as it initially seems. The tempter seeks to influence Jesus to allow immediate desires to overshadow ultimate concerns – to allow fidelity to God to fade into the background because of the pressing needs of the moment.