Temptation in the Desert

First Sunday of Lent

Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert for forty days. There he was tested. He was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not submit. This should give us great confidence. While temptations are part of our daily life, we are not alone in the fight. Christ is with us, he has gone before us.

The temptations which Jesus endured are a summary of all temptations that come against us. Firstly, when he was hungry, Satan offers him satisfaction. This temptation represents the way we can be driven by flesh desire to want pleasure and earthly satisfaction, rather than know the joy that comes from the Spirit. We can be so preoccupied with getting things for ourselves that our lives are fundamentally self-centred, rather than centred on God. What really gives us life is not indulging base desires but feeding on God’s word.

In the second temptation the devil offers all the power and glory of the kingdoms of this world as long as Jesus will worship him. This highlights our fundamental choice in life. Will I bow down before God and worship him, or will I bow before the things of this world. Jesus quotes Scripture, “you must worship the Lord alone”. Who will we bow before? All sin is a bowing down toward creatures and making them an idol. So often people want to achieve in the world so desperately that they sacrifice their own values. They forget God and worship the idols of this world. But all that the world craves is passing away. We need to look at our priorities and how we are spending our lives. Are we truly living for God and his kingdom, preparing for eternity, or are we giving our hearts to worldly pursuits that are ultimately empty and offer only passing fame, fortune, and power?

Then Satan took Jesus to the parapet of the Temple; tempting him to “show-off” by throwing himself down and getting the angels to catch him. Satan suggests to Jesus a stunt to draw attention to himself. This is the temptation to honour and status; look at me! Finding our worth in what others think of us, and wanting desperately to be “No. I”, hungry to be famous like the celebrities of our age, or to be “on top of the pile”. We want the glory for ourselves. But real life is in giving glory to God.


Fr. Ken Barker

DOJ Canberra


Today’s Scripture

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 26:4-10 

2nd Reading: Romans 10:8-13 

Gospel: Luke 4:1-13