Author's note: Ever since Cross-Over, I've wanted to place Max in another Biblical setting. Hope you like it...
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
His name was Max, and he was an angel.
No white robe, no long flowing hair.
He wore a plaid button down the front shirt and faded blue jeans. The hat on his head was dusty and worn. Picture John Wayne with a slight angelic glow. But even for this out-of-place angel, surprises and challenges would – from time to time – come his way.
He found himself in the wilderness. At night.
He looked at his surroundings. Rock. Dirt. Sand. A barren tree stood alone. No sign of life.
Suddenly, he saw a man walking in his direction. He wore a single robe with sandals on his feet. He drew closer, and Max smiled as he recognized him.
He watched as his Lord leaned up against a large rock and quietly bowed his head. Max looked upon him with love and compassion.
He took his position and waited, his eyes wide open.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
At the sound of the devil’s voice, a small creature appeared out of the ground and slowly began to make its way toward Max. It walked/slithered on four legs as its belly hung close to the ground. Even though it appeared to be in pain as it walked, it covered a lot of ground in a short time. And soon it was upon Max.
Max prepared for battle.
The creature grew in size with every word spoken by the enemy. It tried to get past Max. Max lifted his hands and a sword appeared in his right hand. It flashed a dazzling white, and Max held it high above his head. He swung left and right as he quoted from the Holy Book. “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
With each verse quoted, the creature lost ground. But he was determined, and he continued in his attempt to get past the angel in blue jeans.
Max held his ground and then the Anointed One spoke.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
When the Master exclaimed “It is written,” the creature let out a shriek and backed away from Max. It shivered with fear. “That’s right, demon” said Max. “Reveal yourself for the coward you truly are.” He kept the sword held high. With every word the Master spoke, the creature continued to shrink until it returned to its original size, and finally buried itself back into the ground that it came from.
Max looked up after the battle, and noticed he wasn’t alone. Other angels had set up a perimeter around the Master. All were armed for battle.
Max smiled, grateful for the company.
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
The desert suddenly changed form and shape as it became the great city of Zion, and the battle resumed.
This time the creature stood no chance as Max attacked with verse on top of verse. Back and forth the Sword of the Spirit penetrated into the creature’s slimy skin, and each time it shrunk back in pain.
“If you are the Son of God," he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
At the mention of the phrase “his angels,” Max turned around for the first time and stared straight into the enemies’ eyes. Other angels also turned toward the temptation grounds, ready to save the Master at his call.
The Master looked at each angel and even though he did not move his lips, he spoke to them. “Leave him alone. I will call you when I need you.”
Max turned around in time to see the creature readying itself for another strike. But the strike never came, for the Master spoke to the tempter again.
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
And into the ground the creature once more returned.
But the tempter was not done.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Max realized that his part in the battle was finished. He also knew that he had one last task before the completion of this so very important mission.
In unison, each angel turned toward the inner circle and waited for the Master’s final reply.
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
With the final “It is written,” the devil began his retreat, and for the first time he saw the angels. He took one step to the left and then one to the right as he tried to calculate his next move. He finally realized that the only way out was through the circle of celestial beings. His body slouched as he walked toward Max. Max held the sword in front of him and pointed it directly at the enemy. He looked at the Master for the word to proceed, but the Master simply shook his head. Max took a step back in obedience, and the devil slithered away into the darkness.
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
A beam of light appeared above the Master’s head. It brought with it the warmth of heaven. Max and the others made their way to the Master. And with the food of heaven they fed him. And with the living water they gave him drink.
And they stayed with him until his strength returned.
As he finally prepared to leave, he looked at them all one by one. When his eyes fell on Max he spoke to him. “You’ve done well, Mahaniam. The Father is pleased.”
The Master smiled. Max smiled. They hugged, and the Son of God left the wilderness to begin his three year walk to Calvary.
Max found himself on a paved road.
He looked to his right at a road sign that read “Glenn Heights – 30 Miles.”
He adjusted his hat as he started his long walk toward the little town, toward whatever mission the Father had in mind.
He whistled a familiar tune as he walked, all the while thinking of his Lord, and their time in the wilderness.
Scripture Reference: Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)
My book Whispers featuring Max the angel, is now available in paperback.