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Matthew 4:1-11, The Temptation of Jesus

I do not think it was easy for Jesus to resist the temptations of the devil. If I looked strictly through secular eyes, Jesus was literally starving to death. He may even have experienced the temptations in a cloudy sort of hallucination that comes from being so very close to death. Regardless, Jesus had to be truly tempted to do whatever needed to be done to be fed.

But Jesus didn’t give in to temptation. Jesus did what most of us probably could not do. Jesus saw a greater purpose to his own existence than the satisfying of physical needs. He saw a greater purpose than the satisfying of relational or emotional needs. For Jesus, remaining faithful to his goals – faithful to his honor of God – was more important.

I do not think I could turn down food after being denied for 40 days. Heck, I become a grumpy son-of-a-gun when I miss one meal. But Jesus’ resolve does give me something to think about. Are there times when I give in to temptation, when perhaps I would do better to remember that there are greater goods than satisfaction? I am a creature of satisfaction. I like to be fed. I like to be well-dressed. I like to have many healthy relationships. What would it take, I wonder, for me to recognize that the only thing I truly need is God?

Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.