November 1, 2014
The Devil’s Temptation One of the principle of themes found in the bible is the strength of benevolent forces compared to the evil ones. Interactions between Jesus, God, and Satan all occur throughout the stories found in the scripture, but there is a certain section which particularly exemplifies the force of good as embodied through Jesus Christ. Chapter 4 of the Gospel of Luke contains thirteen lines which demonstrate the ability of Jesus Christ to resist the alluring promises of Satan. Though it seems that Satan will successfully tempt Jesus to carry out his commands, Jesus ultimately refuses to do so, demonstrating the inner strength of goodness that can be found with people even under the pressure of a sinful force. The beginning of Chapter 4 provides context in which Satan begins his temptations of Jesus. It begins when,
“Jesus…was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, ‘one does not live by bread alone.” (Luke 4:1-4).
Because the conditions Jesus is facing are debilitating, Satan uses this opportunity as an attempt to lure Jesus into accepting his command believing the harsh conditions would make Jesus easily persuadable. Rather than executing his order Jesus retorts by acknowledging that people eat more than just bread, symbolizing the complexity and high standard of living people emulate. It is clear that by only eating bread a person is committing sin, thus the basis for Jesus’ refusal. While Jesus continues with his excursion, Satan relentlessly tries to pursue Jesus in an attempt to have him commit sin. At one point Jesus’s adventure,
“the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, ‘To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” (Luke 4:5-8)
Instead of exploiting a direct weakness, Satan attempts to have Jesus worship him by offering a glorified rule of all mankind. Since the goodness that Jesus exhibits overpowers any attempts by Satan to commit sin, Jesus once again refuses his offer. In fact, Jesus proclaims that Satan should worship the God as he is the only Lord, therefore submitting him to a lower status. After Satan cunningly attempts to have Jesus commit sin, he tries one more strategy. Soon after the previous test,
“the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’’ When the devil have finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:9-13)
As Jerusalem is the holy city of Christianity, it is a perfect venue for Satan’s…