The Gospel reading in any Catholic church on the planet this weekend is taken from Matthew 4:1-11. When you take the opportunity to read this Scripture passage, it is important to understand that Jesus is “fully God” and “fully human.” He is God. He was also human like you and me. Because He was human, Jesus experienced many different emotions throughout His lifetime. Also, he was tempted by the devil and others all throughout His life just like we are every day.
Soon after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, it is written in Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus was led into the desert where he fasted for forty days and forty nights, and He was tempted by the devil.
The following temptations took place:
1. devil: “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
Jesus: “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’”
2. devil: “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: “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’”
3. devil: “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
Jesus: “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’”
This dialogue between Jesus and the devil is important for us to understand because we learn from these Bible passages that Jesus was tempted to do something that was against His will and contrary to His Father’s will. Does this sound familiar? This sounds like something that I encounter every day. The temptations that I encounter are on a smaller scale compared to what the temptations Jesus encountered in the desert. Nevertheless, I am tempted to sin just like Jesus was tempted.
The bottom line is that we must act like Jesus did. He was tempted, but he rejected the devil. We are tempted every day in myriad situations. We must reject the temptations that are presented to us by the devil. Is this challenging? Yes. It is very challenging at times. When faced with temptation, we need to think before we react. We need to reject the devil and his temptations. There are times in life when we are faced with situations, and we must react right away and there is not time to think ahead of time. But, when there is time to think about what to do when faced with various temptations, we must reject the devil’s deceit and lies. Remember, temptations are sins only if we act on them. Choose Jesus’s ways, not the devil’s ways!