I remember as a child spelling d-e-s-e-r-t, desert, the treat following dinner. I also remember receiving my paper back from the teacher with a red “x” and a second “s” added in the word. A common error for a young child, I am sure. It is funny how some things make a lasting impression and how over time it can be much easier to laugh at things that perhaps once did not seem so funny or amusing. This is one of the gifts that comes with perspective though.
When Jesus was led into the desert, he faced temptation. However, despite his weakened state, he did not lose perspective. He remained focused on who he was and what he knew to be true. He was able to see temptation for what it was and to say, “Get away, Satan!” We are called to do the same.
In today’s world one could say that the desert of temptation has grown exponentially. Oftentimes where one might expect to find solace or solidarity and goodwill, there is none. Despite this, one must carry on and, like Jesus, hold fast to God, the One in whose image all are created. In seeking and striving to do so with all one’s mind, heart and soul, there is comfort and strength, knowledge and wisdom, and yes, even in the desert of temptation, there is peace.
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God. (Deuteronomy 8:3)”
Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “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. (Psalm 91:11-12)”
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test. (Deuteronomy 6:16)”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve. (Deuteronomy 6:13)“
Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.