A Tempting Offer

Armodoxy for Today: A Tempting Offer

Of the thousands of books written about Jesus, I often opt to read works that challenge me to view things from a different, perhaps new, perspective. One such book is a work of fiction by Nicholas Kazantzakis, called The Last Temptation of Christ. It was written in 1955, stirring up controversy and then in 1988 it was produced into a film stirring up objections from conservative and orthodox Christians.*

The story by Kazantzakis is well researched and thought out. He lays out the plot as follows: The crucified Messiah is given His “last temptation” on the cross. He is given the opportunity to see life beyond the cross, to know the joys of a family life, share memories with friends and live to a ripe old age. He is given the opportunity to have the same dreams as do all men and to be as all men. Yet he resists temptation. He says “no” to all the trappings of this world and opts to do His Father’s Will instead.

The gift of free-will, that is, to choose to do otherwise, is one of the greatest gifts given to us by God. In this novel, we are given a “what-if” scenario, and an opportunity to work-through the natural temptation to live without suffering, and to die a peaceful death. It gives us an opportunity to view the story from yet another perspective.

Jesus chose the Cross. In that choice we find how tightly Love and the Cross are tied together.

Today’s prayer is from the Gospel of John, chapter 12, the words of Jesus, which say, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.


*When the film The Last Temptation of Christ debuted in 1988, I was asked to write an op-ed for the San Jose Mercury News. You may read it here.
– Fr. Vazken

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