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Papa Francis The First | His Holiness Papa Francisco

Jesus’ Experience of Temptation...

Our guest blogger today is Jim Van Vurst, OFM, co-author of the free e-newsletter A Friar’s E-spirations. To subscribe to this FREE e-newsletter, click here.

One of the most significant aspects of the season of Lent is to remind us of how Jesus entered into the human experience. We face that fact when the Passion and death of Jesus are revealed to us during Holy Week.

We know from Church teaching that Jesus was both divine and human in nature. That’s referred to as the “hypostatic union,” which we cannot fully comprehend. For many people, it seemed beneath God’s dignity to become human. Further, how could God suffer and die on the cross? But that is exactly what happened.

The answer is that even though Jesus was God (and human) he did not hang on to those powers and qualities that made him God. He gave them up in his human life to be just like us in all things except sin. This is, of course, a great mystery. Even when we believe it in our heads and hearts, our emotions tend to make Jesus’ life different from ours. In reality, Jesus walked this earth as a human being, and the Gospels are crystal clear in telling of Jesus’ human experiences.

When Scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted, that is exactly what happened. The first occasion is what we heard in the Gospel of Mark (1:12-13). Mark’s account is very brief. Matthew and Luke go into detail for each of the three temptations, and Luke adds a very significant detail: “When the devil finished every temptation, he departed from him for a little while.”

The implication is that Satan was not finished with Jesus. Imagine how Satan would whisper in Jesus’ ear: “Oh, Jesus, what a failure you have been. How disappointed your Father must be in you. Despite all your preaching, look what you have now—nothing!” The expression “kicking a man when he is down” doesn’t even describe what Satan was doing to Jesus in those moments.

When we say that Jesus was just like us in all things except sin, it is worth our while to reflect on his experience and try to deepen our understanding of Jesus’ suffering for all of humankind. 

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."