On this first Sunday of Lent, the liturgy of the Word deals with the temptation of Jesus. The tradition that Jesus was tested had wide currency in early Christianity. All the Synoptic Gospels speak about the event. It is emphatically stated by Hebrews 2:14-18 and 4:15. We have today Luke’s version of the temptation for our reflection. Temptation (peirasmos in Greek) largely refers to some burden or threat by humans or other powers (affliction, persecution, snares, etc.), which are human experiences. In other words, temptation is some danger threatening to cause a person to depart from the correct path. Subjectively this threat is perceived in part as the occasion for worry where God’s help is necessary, and in part as an opportunity for proving oneself. It is also the threat of being misled into disobedience and resignation.
In the first temptation Jesus is challenged to use his power as Son in his own interest to seek food for himself apart from his Father’s design. Deuteronomy 8:1-6 alludes to the Exodus experience of Israel, sighing after the fleshpots and the bread of Egypt and murmuring against Moses and Aaron. Despite its desire to seek its food apart from God, Israel was fed with dew, manna, and quail by him. By contrast, Jesus rejects the diabolic challenge by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, “Not on bread alone is man to live.”
In the second temptation, Jesus was challenged to accept dominion over world-kingdoms from someone other than God. The tempter is challenging Jesus to acknowledge someone other than the Father as his master and lord. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:13, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only you shall adore.”
Jesus rejects the challenge to worship