Jesus' temptation in the desert


On the Gospel reading from yesterday, was the temptation of Jesus by the devil meant to be taken literally or symbolically?


Since it was tied to a historical place, persons and time (following His baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist), one may believe that it actually occurred. If doubts are suggested as to its literalness, remember also that Jesus told the Apostles "I have food to eat of which you do not know" (John 4:32). The Holy Spirit would not have driven Jesus into the desert to encounter something that His human nature could not withstand. As well, it serves to show the devil's limitations and that our Lord casts him out - even in his weakened state.

Do you ask because of the length of time?


Instead of wondering about the literal or symbolic interpretation of the passages concerning Jesus' temptation, contemplate the meaning of the passages and what it is trying to teach you. There are multiple lessons to be learned from these passages. Overall, it shows how Jesus relates to the first Adam, in that Adam was made without sin in his nature, but through pride and vanity he fell from grace, which is how Satan fell. It also shows us the True Nature of Christ, that he was without sin and not subject to it. This is why Satan tried to tempt Jesus by assaulting him in a similar way he did with Adam, who was also created good and without sin in his nature. It shows us that Jesus overcomes all temptation for us, and that he was truly innocent and went obediently to the cross to die, and overcame death (the wage of sin) for us.


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