June 22nd: Luke 3:1-4:13, Proverbs 15:1-29
When Jesus goes up into the wilderness to fast and pray, the Holy Spirit is the one leading (Luke 4:1). Since we are told Jesus is full of the Spirit, that suffices to strengthen One empty of food. When Jesus is first tempted to make the stone into bread, Jesus refuses to indulge his physical hunger and prove His powers. Satan tempts Jesus in two more ways according to the scriptures, but many have suggested these are three paradigmatic temptations and only part of what would have been an array of other temptations. Forty days, after all, is a long time. Unlike the first humans, Adam and Eve, who fell into sin while tempted in a garden full of all the food they could desire, Jesus could not be tempted though at the extremes of human hunger and destitution. The first and third temptations don’t seem obviously evil, while Jesus’ opponent even quotes the Psalms to encourage the suggested miracles. However, Jesus full of the Spirit, knows how those passages are being twisted and misused, and so refutes these wiles with quotes from Deuteronomy. Jesus is also showing how, unlike the children Israel that complained against God and Moses for not providing enough food after the Exodus, Jesus will trust God in the worst of moments and leave this wilderness as God’s bona fide representative. Books are written about the temptation’s relationship to Jesus’ ministry, and I am but scratching the surface. This event is Jesus’ initial triumph (through the Spirit) over the Evil One, and foreshadows Jesus’ ongoing victory in this great conflict.