Reflection on Scripture First Sunday of Lent Gospel A Test vs Temptation

By 10:26 AM

First Sunday of Lent Gospel A

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
· God tests us to draw us closer to him. The devil tempts us to draw us away from God.
· From the time of the baptism until his death on the cross, Jesus is led by the Spirit.

He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. 
· Moses and Elijah fasted forty days and forty nights as part of their preparation for what God had in store for them.
· Here the number forty has another significance. During the forty years in the desert, the Israelites proved that they were not true sons of God by their frequent sinful rebellions and grumblings. Jesus as the Son of God gives us the example of how a true son of God is to live in the midst of temptations.
· Do you see the power of fasting and prayer in dealing with temptations?

The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” 
· The devil picks up on the word of God to Jesus after his baptism: “You are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” The devil wants Jesus to question his identity.
· The focus of the devil’s temptation is to satisfy self rather than be faithful and depend upon God to care for you. Do you see the similarity with the temptation in the Garden of Eden?

He said in reply, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” 
· Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 in response. Jesus knows that he is the Son of God, beloved of the Father. He doesn’t have to use his own power to prove this. Rather, he chooses to be obedient to the Father’s will in all things, even in the time of physical hunger. His food is the word of God.

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” 
· Again the focus of the temptation is questioning whether Jesus is the Son of God and trusts in God. Like Jesus the devil too quotes the scriptures (Ps 91:11-12). Jesus responds as a true Son of God but stating that he does not have to put God to the test as the Israelites did in the desert, complaining against him for not providing food and drink. A creature does not test the Lord. The Lord tests the creature.

Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, "All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” 
· The first lie is that the devil can’t give all the kingdoms of the world. He has no power or authority. The second lie is that he is not God, who alone deserves worship. Jesus unmasks the devil for who he is—a creature subject to God, but who is separated from God eternally by choice.
· In a sense, Jesus is laughing at the devil when he says, “Get away.”
· Jesus proves himself as a true Son of God, who is obedient to the Father, unlike Adam and the Israelites.
· “Each temptation has one common purpose: to divert Jesus from his mission, to distract him from the purpose for which he came on earth; to replace the Father’s plan with a different one. In Baptism, the Father had indicated to Christ the way of the obedient Servant who saves with humility and suffering. Satan proposes to him the way of glory and triumph, the way that everyone then expected of the Messiah.”

· “Today also, the whole effort of the devil is to divert man from the purpose for which he is in the world, which is to know, love and serve God in this life to enjoy him later in the next; to distract him. But Satan is astute; he does not appear as a person with horns and the smell of sulfur. It would be too easy to recognize him. He makes use of good things leading them to excess, absolutizing them and making them idols. Money is a good thing, as is pleasure, sex, eating, drinking. However, if they become the most important thing in life, they are no longer means but become destructive for the soul and often also for the body.”

Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
· What lesson can we derive from our reflections on this passage?
· How should we respond in times of temptations and in times of test?
· What was the role of the Spirit during the temptations?

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