Reading: Matthew 4: 1-11
Food is a natural temptation. The forbidden fruit is more than Adam and Eve can bear. In the desert, day after day of manna becomes more than the Israelites can take and they cry out to God. In both cases, God is put to the test. In today’s passage, food is again what is used to test God. Jesus hasn’t eaten for forty days, so He must have been tempted. And Satan wants to test God too – will the stones turn to bread?
The second temptation also tests God. If Jesus does something foolish will God swoop in and rescue Him? Will God come through? It is a similar test of God. In both of these cases, we often venture down similar roads. We will do and say things that certainly test God, that must test God’s patience. We are rarely brave enough to step boldly out in a faith that requires radical trust in God to intervene on our behalf.
In the last temptation, Jesus is offered power. It is something we all want to one degree or another. We like to be in control, to make our own decisions. At times, we have all questioned our boss or someone else in authority and thought we could certainly do better if given the chance. We are wired to succeed and to compete to be number one. For Satan to offer the rule of the world to Jesus must have been tempting. It would definitely be tempting to us – except the thought of bowing down to Satan is hard to fathom.
If we are honest, there is much that we place in the role of what we worship. It can be money, time, status, position, beauty… When we worship or live for these things, we have really demoted God. The more we pursue the things of this world, the further from God we venture. It is here that we are most susceptible to Satan’s whispers and temptations.
In our story today, we see the solution to whatever temptation. Just as Jesus stood boldly, may we too call on the power of God and say to the great tempter, “Away from me Satan!”