Then the Spirit led Yeshua up into the wilderness to be tempted by the Adversary. After Yeshua had fasted forty days and nights, he was hungry. The Tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, order these stones to become bread.” But he answered, “The Tanakh says, ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of The LORD’”
Then the Adversary took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the Temple. “If you are the Son of G-d,” he said, “jump! For the Tanakh says, ‘He will order his angels to be responsible for you. . . .They will support you with their hands, so that you will not hurt your feet on the stones.’” Yeshua replied to him, “But it also says, ‘Do not put The LORD your G-d to the test.’”
Once more, the Adversary took him up to the summit of a very high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in all their glory, and said to him, “All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.” “Away with you, Satan!” Yeshua told him, “For the Tanakh says, ‘Worship The LORD your G-d, and serve only him.’” Then the Adversary let him alone, and angels came and took care of him.
I had originally planned on asking a series of questions about temptation, why Yeshua was tempted. I read the passage again and it stuck me that the temptation is part of the process. I am no expert and I don’t pretend to be. I am approaching this passage with questions, but I feel even more unsure than usual as I ask them. I don’t think I have any answers, but I will do some thinking out loud, for lack of a better phrase, as I ponder this.
Then the Spirit led Yeshua up into the wilderness to be tempted by the Adversary. After Yeshua had fasted forty days and nights, he was hungry. The Tempter came and said…
As I write this, the week of Bereshit/Genesis is almost over. I have heard some interesting teachings and perspectives on the portion and I just realized that they both deal broadly with the Adversary (that’s the literal definition of satan from Hebrew) trying to mess up G-d’s plans. Both portions offer a temptation to eat and ascend rank. Yeshua was understandably hungry, but he refused the suggestion to eat stones-turned-to-bread. Yeshua is destined to be crowned King of Israel and ultimately the whole world, but he refused to snatch the title and position without enduring all the pain and heartache that the true path would take to get there. One of the teachings I heard offered an interesting point: the serpent in the garden never quite lied. The example to prove this is that he told Eve that she and Adam would become like G-d if they ate of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. After they had eaten, G-d repels them from the garden because they have “become like G-d.” So the serpent was honest in that respect.
So what are the truths the Adversary is sharing with Yeshua? John the Immerser says that G-d could make sons of Abraham from the stones by the Jordan.
Tangent: Is it possible that the stones John references here are the twelve monument stones referenced in Joshua 4? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Those stones were on the Israeli side of the Jordan, as I read the passage.
Is John lying? I don’t think so. Sure G-d could do that, but why would he. Yeshua on the other hand was hungry. He hadn’t eaten for 40 days. Why not eat? How does that show a lack of faith or a weakness in character? I don’t really get that. It’s especially interesting because afterward, angels come and attend to him. Moses did multiple 40 day fasts in the presence of G-d. I wonder if Yeshua’s fast was partly to provoke an intense hunger that could strengthen his Flesh and embolden his animal or evil inclination. Does that sound blasphemous? I don’t think it should. I mean no disrespect. Come let us reason together. I submit that since Man is told he can overcome sin and that Yeshua was tempted, but without sin, that he can be tempted and that he could have sinned. If not, His work and life would seem diminished in their profundity. I’d be interested to hear another perspective on this. In Judaism there are concepts that have developed over time such as the good inclination and the evil inclination. Why couldn’t Yeshua have had both? Isn’t that what Satan was appealing to? And yet Yeshua rebutted him by leaning on Torah, on G-d.
I guess the takeaway from all this is that if we want to live good lives, free from sin, that we should follow Yeshua’s example and face every temptation with the knowledge of G-d and His word, so that we do not give in to temptation. Also, the verse says that Yeshua was led into the Wilderness and fasted so that he could be tempted by the adversary. If he was alone and starved, and therefore not at his best, in a rough area to make the temptation feasible, maybe we should make sure that we do the opposite to help us avoid temptation?