Thursday after the First Sunday after Epiphany
Scripture: St. Luke 4:1-13 (NKJV)
1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'”
5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'”
9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,’ 11 and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'” 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'”
13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
The temptation of our Lord Jesus Christ parallels an earlier event in Holy Scripture—the fall and expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. In both events there is a temptation presented by that great deceiver, the devil. In the case of Adam and Eve, the temptation occurs in a paradise, which leads to their expulsion out of paradise into the wilderness. In the case of our Lord Jesus, the temptation occurs in the wilderness, so that He might recall us back into Paradise—into life everlasting.
As we know well, Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of the devil and ate the fruit of the tree that the Lord God forbade them to eat, and they, having placed themselves in the place of God, began to know right and wrong. Most pointedly they learned what it means to transgress the Law of God, and their children have borne the curse of this sin ever since.
The temptations offered to our Lord reflect the temptation of Adam and Eve, for they were tempted with food, and in disobeying God’s command they submitted themselves to be under Satan’s authority. In placing themselves under the devil’s authority they were no longer under the protection of the Lord God, but now would be under the one who meant them every harm.
But ultimately our Lord Jesus Christ defeats the devil with the Word of God, fulfilling the Law that was broken by Adam and his family. Therefore, He has restored us to the life of paradise in Heaven.