February 20, 2010


1st Sunday of Lent - C
Luke 4:1-13

Temptations to Control Self, the World, and God

The devil's temptations against Jesus seem to be all about control and domination over oneself, the world, and God.

The first temptation: fulfill one's needs, take care of oneself. It's legitimate and necessary to take care of oneself. Here, however, the devil wants to lure Jesus to focus only on his physical needs and self fulfillment. If one focuses only on oneself, then there is little room left in one's life for others and for God.

The second temptation: dominate the world and make it serve you. Put me first. All "power and glory" is mine." The temptation is to take control of others, even of the whole world, at any cost, even at the cost of one's freedom. "All this will be yours, if you worship me."

The third temptation: manipulate God according to one's own idea and desire. This attitude, which Jesus judges as "putting the Lord, your God, to the test," in fact, wants to order God around, and makes the Creator serve the creature.

In the devil's eyes, Jesus should claim and exercise domination over his own life, the world, and even God if he is "the Son of God."

In contrast, Jesus acts as an others-centered savior, servant of the world, and an obedient son. That is the attitude of a true child of God.

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