The Temptations Of Christ
1st Sunday of Lent:
Readings: Genesis 2:4-9, 15-17,25-3:7
Romans 5: 12-19
Often times when we read the Scriptures, the interpretations come from our own experiences. Today’s Gospel deals with temptation. Our knowledge of the word, “Temptation” is an enticement to do wrong. But in its original meaning, Temptation really means, “to test.” The writers who have put together the Scriptures are challenging us to understand what God is telling us about the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus had just come out of baptism. The heavens opened and a dove descended from heaven, came upon Him and a voice said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Reading today started at the beginning- Genesis. Adam and Eve were created in the image and likeness of God and were blessed with everything. In the garden, Satan tested them. They failed because they listened to Satan. This was the very first time Satan tempted man. Now we see him coming to Christ with the 2nd temptation.
The wilderness here was known as, “devastation” when translated. It was not pleasant. It was like a blistering furnace, very hot and uncomfortable. Go back to the Old Testament and read the account of Abraham and Isaac. God told Abraham to bring Isaac to the mountain of Moriah and offer a burnt offering. God was testing Abraham’s faith. Now, we see Jesus who was just starting out in ministry, being led to the wilderness and put to the test. When we experience victories in life, usually the tests follow. There should have really been a great celebration after such an awesome event as the baptism, but a testing followed. The gifts that are given to us by God should not be a cause or reason for us to gloat in them. We have to be cautious and careful that we do not become arrogant. Jesus had been fasting for 40 days. It was just at the point of physical exhaustion when the body could no longer take more. And Satan comes to Him and says, “if you are the son of God, change this rock into bread.” Bread during this time was the main substance, the very essence of life.
Genesis 2:17 “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” In our lives today, we teach ourselves about the things that are good and things that are not good. But what is needed is that we must obey what God has told us.
Adam and Eve were tempted in the garden. Christ was tempted in devastation. Satan tempts Him through deception. Jesus’ response was, “it is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Jesus was then taken up to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, which was a 450 feet drop. And the enemy told Him to jump for surely the angels would come and rescue Him. Jesus said, “Thou shall not tempt the Lord Thy God.” Jesus stood firm and did not give in. So the devil takes Him up to the high mountain overlooking the riches of the city and the kingdoms of the world and tells Him to bow down and worship him. Jesus responded, “You shall worship only God and God alone.” Jesus did not compromise. Most of us would want the easy way out- but not Jesus. He knew He had to go through the testing in order to become victorious in them. Sometimes when things aren’t what they are suppose to be, it is our task to make them right, because He said that we the Salt of the Earth and Light of the World. There may be difficult times, but if we walk with Christ and do not give up, we will surely be victorious. Do we trust God to be our Jehovah Jireh? Many times, we try to seek for other answers.
We need to realize that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places. As He is, so are we in this world. If we are children of God, what should we be doing? When we see Him, we will know Him because we will be like Him. This is our goal- to be like Him. Let God be the source of our life. Christ is in us and with us. To be like Him should be our ultimate goal.