The Temptation of Jesus- a new perspective
Lent begins with a reflection on the forty days of fasting of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Judean desert (Mt. 4:1-11). At the end of his forty days of fasting, the devil approached Jesus to test and tempt him. Devil tested him to try and have dominion over the new humanity which was to be established by the second Adam i.e., Jesus. Where the first Adam failed, Jesus got victory. The first Adam failed in his temptation and brought dominion of the devil upon the whole of humanity. There onwards the whole humanity was under the captivity of the devil. Jesus has come to this world to undo what the devil has done in humanity (1Jn 3:8). But the devil tried his level best to bring the second humanity also under his dominion. The temptation started with a simple issue of just turning stones into bread and culminated with a complicated issue of worship and adoration. The first Adam was tempted with a simple issue of eating the forbidden fruit. God created stone but not for eating. That is not the plan of God. But Satan asked Jesus to disobey God and stand against the plan of God and also to obey him by eating that stone-bread.
The devil also proposed to Jesus an alternative plan to redeem humanity from his captivity cum dominion and that was through Satan worship, because he asked Jesus to worship him and if Jesus would then he would give the whole world and everything in it to Jesus (Mat. 4:9). Then Jesus had no need to suffer or die on the cross to redeem humanity from Satan’s tyranny. Jesus refused it and instead he wanted to fulfil the will of his Father by dying on the Cross for the redemption of humanity from the dominion of the devil.
Who are Devil and Demons?
Some people say there is no devil; some others say there is devil everywhere. What does the Church say about it? CCCC 74 says, “This expression indicates that Satan and the other demons, about which Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the Church speak, were angels, created good by God. They were, however, transformed into evil because with a free and irrevocable choice they rejected God and his Kingdom, thus giving rise to the existence of hell. They try to associate human beings with their revolt against God. However, God has wrought in Christ a sure victory over the Evil One”.
So Satan or Devil is not an abstract idea but he is a person (CCC 2851). He is the ruler of the world (Jn. 12:31) and the prince of the world (Jn. 14:30). Again the Bible says he is a deceiver of the whole world (Rev. 12:9). And the whole world is under his grip (1Jn. 5:19). This grip and dominion will continue until the second coming of Jesus (CCC 2853).
The work of the Devil and Demons
He is like a roaring lion moving in this world to devour someone (1Pt 5:8) and the devil and demons always invite the whole of humanity to stand against God (CCCC 74). And because of the dominion of the devil in this world, the whole human history is a history of struggle against evil (CCC 409).
From where did the devil and demons get power over humanity?
Adam and Eve had given this authority and power to the Evil one, through their disobedience to God and obedience to Satan. The devil approached Adam and Eve and secured their consent to get dominion over them. And because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, Satan got an acquired right over the entire humanity (CCC 407) to torment them (Rom. 8:19-23).
How long this dominion will continue?
When Jesus died on the cross, the eternal consequence of the original sin and other sins got cancelled (that is hell CCC 1263) but all the temporal consequences of the dominion (original sin and other sins) continue even after baptism (CCC 1264). These temporal consequences will be cancelled by personal acceptance of Jesus and His kingdom by every individual. But in the second coming of Jesus the dominion of the devil will be cancelled, and so even the temporal aspects of the original sin (CCC 2853) will cease. After the second coming, Christ will govern the whole world, and as Revelation 21:1-4 says, in those days there shall be no tears in the eyes, no pain and no death. A new heaven and earth will be formed, and that is the re-establishment of the lost paradise.
Till the second coming of Jesus, not everything is subjected to Him (CCC 680). But only what we consecrate or surrender to Jesus will be under the dominion of God, and the rest of the things are under the dominion of the devil (GS 13). That is the cause of all the sufferings in this world.
The second coming is delayed because of the non-acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah by the Jewish people (CCC 674). And also the Bible says that before the second coming, the message of the Kingdom must be preached everywhere, and then the end will come (Mt. 24:14).
During this Lenten season let us imitate Jesus; when we have temptations to relieve the humanity from its miseries through worldly measures and means by following the message of the world. St Paul advises us not be conformed to this world but to be transformed according to the renewal of our mind through the Word of God. Again St. Paul says that Satan will take away the kingdom of God from us through the philosophies of this world (Col 2:8). Let us live a life according to the Word of God and the Magisterial teachings of the Church so that we will overcome the present day temptations. Jesus overturned the satanic temptations by using the Word of God. Adam and Eve also quoted the Word of God. Eve said, ‘God told us not only not to eat but also not even to look at it’. But they failed terribly to adhere to it. Above all the enemy is moving like a roaring lion to destroy the Word of God that is sown in the heart of the people (Mk 4:4 and 14-15). Jesus has come into the heart through the meditation of the word of God. The one who is in your heart is more powerful than the one who is outside (1Jn. 4:4). The Word of God is like a two edged sword (Heb 4:12) through which we will be able to fight with the devil and demons and victory is guaranteed (Rom 8:37). The Church also says that we will get three victories in the name of Jesus, who is the Word of God. These are the three victories: victory over sin, sickness and death (CCCc 314). Therefore let us all be with the risen lord to enjoy these victories.