20200301 Jesus in the desert

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INTRODUCTION

Today at Catholic mass, Matthew 4,-11 is read.

How could Matthew know what happened in the desert? As we understand he went alone tot the desert. Did Jesus told the disciples after that “encounter with the devil”? about what he did and said? I doubt that.

INDEX

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The text

MArc and John does not mention this story. Here are the stories told in Matthew and Luke for comparison:

Matthew 4,1-11 says: Luke 4, 1-13 says:
 

Filled with the holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the desert to be put to the test by the devil.

was led by the Spirit into the desert
2 for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.

When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry afterward. 

 

 

  1. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry.
3 and the tester came and said to him, ‘If you are Son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves.’ 3 Then the devil said to him, ‘If you are Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.’
4 But he replied, ‘Scripture says: Human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ 4 But Jesus replied, ‘Scripture says: Human beings live not on bread alone.’
5 The devil then took him to the holy city and set him on the parapet of the Temple.

6 ‘If you are Son of God,’ he said,

If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you.’ and, ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you don’t dash your foot against a stone.’”  

 

 

 

7  Jesus said to him,

Again, it is written, ‘You shall not test the Lord, your God.’ 

 

8 Next, taking him to a very high mountain, the devil showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour.

5 Then leading him to a height, the devil showed him in a moment of time all the kingdoms of the world

He said to him,

“I will give you all of these things, if you will fall down and worship me.”

6 The devil said to him,

“I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish.
7 All this will be yours, if you worship me.”

10  Then Jesus said to him, “Get behind me Satan! For it is written, 
‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.’”

8 Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God and him alone shall you serve.’”

  9 Then he led him to Jerusalem and set him on the parapet of the Temple. ‘If you are Son of God,’ he said to him, ‘throw yourself down from here,

10 for scripture says: He has given his angels orders about you, to guard you, and again:

11 They will carry you in their arms in case you trip over a stone.’


12But Jesus answered him, ‘Scripture says: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

11 Then the devil left him, and behold,  angels came and served him.   Now when Jesus heard that John was delivered up, 

13 * When the devil had finished every temptation,i he departed from him for a time.

 

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The message

  1. Use miracle power against hunger.
  2. Put God at test to save Jesus

Jesus uses the words of the scriptures with the devil. he does not his owns words with the devil.

The stories are similar in Matthew and Luke with a few differences

Matthew Luke
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the desert to be put to the test by the devil. was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.
3 and the tester came and said to him, ‘If you are Son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves.’ 3 Then the devil said to him, ‘If you are Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.’
5 The devil then took him to the holy city and set him on the parapet of the Temple. 5 Then leading him to a height, the devil showed him in a moment of time all the kingdoms of the world
8 Next, taking him to a very high mountain 9 Then he led him to Jerusalem and set him on the parapet of the Temple.

These two are the main differences:

  1. In Matthew the devil asks Jesus to turn stones into loaves. In Luke only one stone into a loaf.
  2. In Matthew, Jesus is first taken to the temple and then the mountain. In Luke it is the other way, first the mountain and then the temple.

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conclusion

it is interesting that Mark does not mention a word about this desert devil visit. He should have known about it. So I wonder if Matthew and Luke invented this story to reinforce the devil and “temptation of the devil” dogma first presented in Genesis. It was important for the clerics to have this divine power of freeing people from their sins after confession. Lukes seems to have copied from Matthew.

The story is not compatible with the humility of Jesus. Can you imagine Jesus telling his disciples.

“You know, When the devil said “bla bla bla” then I answered him like this … And then the devil took me to the temple, I answered him like that…..”

For me it sounds absurd. Jesus was not the kind of man who bragged about himself and his intelligence.

 

A agnostic pluralist seeker

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