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Be a Jedi Christian

March 4, 2019

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” (Luke 4: 1-2)

 The Star Wars franchise has widespread appeal.  People from many cultures and generations are drawn to the conflict between good and evil.  We feel the pull to the dark side, and hope to be rescued by a Jedi soldier from the Force, wielding a lightsaber.

In his book, Wisdom of the Jedi Masters,[1] Dick Staub notes: “The light-versus-dark dualism of Jedi lore parallels teachings found in Christian scripture . . . John talked about ‘walking in the light’ as Jesus is in the light and warned against having anything to do with the works of ‘darkness.’ . . . Jedi Christians believe that over and above the opposing forces of light and darkness there is a Lord over all, including the Force. These Christians call this Lord of the Force God.”

Similarly, the gospel lesson[2]portrays a battle between the forces of light and dark.  “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit [“strong in the Force”] . . . was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil” (Luke 4: 1-2). [3]  An epic spiritual battle between God and Satan occurred during those forty days.  Why did the Spirit lead Jesus into the desert to be tempted?  It showed us that Jesus was fully human.  But it also gave Jesus an opportunity to affirm the plan for his ministry.

We are entering the season of Lent—a season of reflection on Jesus’ life leading up to his death on the cross.  We reflect on the challenges he faced and how he responded to those challenges. He gave us some tools that we can use when we are put to the test.  His response to the first temptation was a scriptural reference to the forty years that the Israelites were forced to wander in the desert to “humble” and “test” them: “It is written: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone’” (Luke 4: 4, Deuteronomy 8:2,3).  Jesus responds with Scripture again to the second temptation:  “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only” (Luke 4:8, Deuteronomy 6:13).  At that point, the devil changed tactics, quoting Scripture back to him: “’He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you carefully; they will lift up their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’” (Luke 4:10,11; Psalm 91:11,12).  But the devil misused Psalm 91, which was written to show how God is our protector and refuge.  It was not written to encourage people to ask God to demonstrate his power.  Jesus responds again with Scripture:  “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Luke 4:12, Deuteronomy 6:16).

Reading Scripture is an oft-used method of staying the course and getting through times of trials.  In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom described how Scripture helped her and others survive the horrors of the years they spent in concentration camps.  Corrie’s family was arrested and thrown into different concentration camps during World War II after they were caught hiding Jews in their home and helping them escape from the Nazis in Holland.  Corrie and her sister, Betsie, were moved several times before they reached their final destination–Ravensbruck, Germany, the site of the infamous women’s extermination camp.  By what can only be described as the grace of God, they were able to pass through numerous checkpoints and inspections with their Bible. They maintained hope throughout their imprisonment through Bible readings and worship services.

Jesus was approached by the devil when he was most vulnerable.  He was alone in the desert, without people or resources to call upon.  We are also tempted when we are most vulnerable—when we are weak, tired, angry, ill, discouraged, depressed, lonely, or stressed.  Jesus demonstrates that it is not enough to know Scripture—even the devil was able to quote it—but that we must follow Scripture’s teachings.  He gave us an example of obedience in his resistance of the three temptations.  Paul lists the items of armor that we can don to fight our own spiritual battles and he reminds us not to forget that prayer is also a powerful tool in our battle against evil forces (Ephesians 6:18).

The Word of God is the only offensive weapon mentioned in the armory.  Staub observes, “The Jedi knight’s most important weapon was the elegant and powerful lightsaber, and the Christian counterpart’s most potent weapon is the word of God, which functions like a sword.  The writer of Hebrews said, ‘For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword . . .”[4]

Be a Jedi Christian. Use the armor and weapons at your disposal, including your lightsaber, the Word of God.  And may the Force [Spirit of God] be with you.

Prayer:  Father, help us in our struggles against evil forces that seek to discourage, demoralize, depress us, and dash our hope in you.  Teach us to use the powerful lightsaber, your Word, to fend off the darkness in our everyday lives, to keep the flame of faith alive in our souls, and to light our way on the path you have chosen for us.  Amen.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1]Staub, Wisdom of the Jedi Masters (2005) Jossey-Bass, pp. 4-5

[2]The texts for the First Sunday in Lent are Psalm 91: 1-13; Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Romans 10:8b-13; and Luke 4:1-13.  A substantially similar blog was published on this website on February 14, 2016 under the title “A Jedi Christian’s Weapons.”

[3]Since Jesus was alone in the desert, scholars assume that Jesus recounted the event to the disciples when he returned, who passed it onto Paul, then to Luke.

[4]Staub, Wisdom of the Jedi Masters, p. 144, Hebrews 4:12.


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