The Three Desert Temptations of Jesus

To begin Lent the Church asks us to consider the three temptations that Jesus underwent in the desert, according to Matthew and Luke.  What is important about the scene of the temptations is the answers Jesus gives to each temptation.  If you read again Jesus’s responses to them, it will be clear that Jesus reveals his inner motivations and convictions.  "I will have eternal life if I obey the word of God; obedience to that word is what will give me life forever.  I have only one God; thus, there is only one being to whom I give my total self, as creature to Creator, I adore only one Person.  I have no doubt that God loves me; put me in any situation, even falling from the tower of the Temple - I have no doubt of his love, often a saving love, for me."  These three responses of Jesus are replies to his temptations, but they are phrased by Jesus in the third person, as the responses asked of every human being.  As mentioned, these words of Jesus reveal his inner self and are meant to explain his mindset as he moved through his entire public life.  What motivates him, what guides his choices - consider the three desert answers.  Thus, not only is the temptation scene a picture in itself; it is meant to guide a reader who is interested in explaining to himself the Jesus behind his words and deeds.  What Jesus says in the desert is repeated in essence in the Garden before his suffering.  As Gospels tell it, he insists that he did not want to die.  Yet, whatever his Father wished, he would do - and having total confidence in the Father, his passion shows no contestation from Jesus.  He will live forever if only he can know the word of God which gives life; he has only one God in his life and adores no one else; he has absolute trust in God’s love for him, no matter the form future prospects may take.  It is this picture of Jesus which is to be the picture of the Christian. 

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