Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Temptation of Jesus (Part 1 of 4)

In the following post I will share a multi-part study on Jesus overcoming the three temptations of the devil (Mt 4:1-11). , taken from Edward Sri's study on the Gospel of Matthew entitled, Mystery of the Kingdom. By taking a closer look at how the three temptations of Jesus relate to the first three major trials of Israel in the Exodus, we’ll be able to identify that the failings of Israel are symbolically overcome by Jesus’ victory over the devil. Finally, we’ll recognize how Jesus’ victory over the devil sets the tone for the rest of His public ministry, and how the Church’s annual celebration of Lent helps us experience the victory of Jesus in our own lives today.

The Real Enemy
Jesus’ battle in the desert was not a fight that many of the people around Him expected. Instead of confronting the Romans, who were the evil oppressors of the Jews in Jesus’ day, Jesus marched into the desert to combat a much fiercer opponent; the devil. Jesus shows all of us that the real enemy was much bigger than the Roman Empire or any other pagan nation. The true enemy was the power of sin and Satan. To focus on driving out the Romans would be to miss the point. Thus, Jesus did not come to fight the Romans, but to treat the root of the problem; the sin of Israel and the sin of all humanity. If sin were conquered, Israel and all of us truly would be free.

‘In the Destert’
The fact that Jesus spent forty days in the desert shows how He symbolically relived the story of Israel’s forty years in the wilderness during the Exodus. We shall see in the following posts that Jesus faced the same trials Israel faced in the desert, but instead of failing like the ancient people of God did, He proved Himself to be a faithful Israelite. Jesus remained faithful precisely where Israel had been unfaithful.

Part 2 of this study to follow. .

[1] Mt 4:1-11. New American Bible
[2] Mystery of the Kingdom. Edward Sri. Publsiher, Immaus Road

No comments: