Hmm. Temptation. Choice and decision. It’s a struggle for us, isn’t it.
Many pious people, and indeed the orthodox teaching of many churches, claim it is blasphemous to say Christ was really tempted in the desert, since he was fully God and God can’t be tempted by evil. No, he just appeared to be tempted in order to vanquish the devil.
But Jesus was also fully human, and the writer to the Hebrews says that he ‘suffered when tempted’ and was ‘tempted as we are but without sin.’ In fact there was no point in going into the desert to be tempted if he wasn’t!
So what was the point? Why was the Son of God, straight after his baptism in the River Jordan by his cousin, John, ‘driven’ by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted? And what’s it got to do with us in the here-and-now anyway?
St Paul, in his brilliant letter to the Romans, paints it as a cosmic recapitulation of the Creation story, in which we, who struggle with the age-old temptations of self-sufficiency and independence, being ‘clothed’ with Adam and Eve, instead become clothed with Christ.
Heavy? Not really. It’s actually just about our daily Bread.
The Bewcastle Benefice sermon for the First Sunday of Lent can be found here.