Text – Luke 4:1-13:
5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 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. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”
9 Then 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, 10 for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,’
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
Yesterday we looked at the 40-day ordeal that Jesus endured, emerging victorious over Satan. Today the text chosen, gives us a closer look at what exactly Satan offered to Jesus in his three-fold attempt to tempt him. The three temptations encompass all temptations and the appetites they excite in us: stones to bread – human hungers of every type, the vision of the kingdoms of the world – lust of every type, and the idea of jumping off the temple – ego satisfaction of every type.
This trinity of temptations is not unique in the Bible. Satan offered the same to Eve in the Garden as she saw that the fruit was beautiful – hunger/lust, the fruit looked delicious – lust of every type, and the fruit would give her wisdom to make like God – ego satisfaction. This trinity is also repeated by John in 1 John 2:16. The world offers a craving for physical pleasure – hungers, a craving for everything we see – lust, and pride in our achievements – ego satisfaction.
This 2021 Lent, let us remember that form of those things that offer to take us off track in our desire to follow God. Hunger, lust, and ego satisfaction take many forms and lead us away from God.
Eternal and matchless God, we give thanks to you for the ways in which you accompany us on this path to glory. We pray that you will help us to keep our focus on you in spite of the trials and temptations of life.
O God, keep me pure within so that I may live in a way that will not disgrace You. Help me to recognize the many ways that evil presents itself in my life, always appeal to hunger, lust, or ego. May I not take “the bait” and become ensnared in Satan’s devices.
I believe, O God, that you have a way for me to walk that will lead me to life, to joy, and to eternal fulfillment. All other ways lead to darkness and defeat. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.