Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Themes: Temptation of Jesus, Raising of Lazarus
Volume 8 No. 469 Mar 21, 2018
III. Temptation of Jesus

Temptation of Jesus Christ in the Desert

by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

The purple color of Lent symbolizes penance, but also royalty. As we remember how the first Adam was tempted and failed his test, we rejoice that Christ the King, the New Adam, triumphed over the tempter. We celebrate that we, sons and daughters of the same heavenly King, can also win the battle against temptation.

As I crossed the great divide of puberty, I formed a vivid image of God. He was a grumpy old man with a frown on his face. Every time anyone tried to have a little fun, he'd shout "Thou shalt not!"

But to really live and not just exist, you had to do the daring, "sinful" things. What the Bible calls "sin" is where the action is.


This is what I was taught in the movies I watched and the books I read. It's what I heard in the locker room and in the checkout line, from men and women, young and old. Everybody appeared to accept this as an unquestioned matter of fact.

Behind this widespread perception lay a very successful propaganda campaign unparalleled in the history of humanity. In fact it goes back to the very beginnings of humanity. To the Garden.

Think of it for a minute. The triune God, completely sufficient in Himself and needing nothing, decides to create paradise out of chaos in an act of sheer generosity. He creates creatures of all shapes and sizes, and sets, as caretakers of them all, a couple created in God's own image and likeness, with intellect and will, freedom and responsibility.


Their assigned activity is to love one another intimately, to walk daily with God in the cool of the evening, and simply enjoy Paradise. Any duties? Sort of. They had to tend the garden, which was virtually maintenance-free since neither thorn nor thistle, drought nor Japanese beetle had as yet arrived on the scene. And there was one more thing–to avoid eating the fruit of a particular tree, since it would kill them. But how hard was that, given all the other luscious fruit available in the garden?

Then appears a slithering reptile who had given them absolutely nothing. But now he has the nerve to give them advice. "Did God say you'd die if you ate this fruit? Nonsense! He only said that because eating this fruit would make you his equal, and he can't bear that. You see, he created you to enslave you. He wants to keep you under his foot. He's keeping the best for himself. You listen to him and you'll be missing out on real life. You'll be losers forever."


Thus began the deceptive advertising campaign that lasts till this day, the glamorization of death. For that truly is what sin is about, and that's why God says "thou shall not." He is not a crabby prude, but a loving Father. He knows us better than we know ourselves and loves us better than we love ourselves. So he does what every parent does. "Don't touch the stove, you'll get burnt." "Don't play at the top of the stairs–you'll fall and break your neck."

Our first parents believed the liar instead of the Father. They fell and broke their relationship with God and shattered the innocent intimacy they had with one another. Their family fragmented as soon as it started with Cain killing Abel. Thorns and thistles appeared, Paradise was lost, and death came into the world.


 Today, we remember, how Jesus Christ, the new Adam, went another round with the deceiver and vanquished him through the power of the Word of God.

Our task during these is to examine our lives in light of God's Word and see where we've allowed darkness to creep in, where we've taken the bait of the diabolical fisher of men. It's time to use the sword of the spirit to cut through his web of deception, to free ourselves from the net that holds us as prey.

That is why Lent is called a joyful season of freedom. The purple color of repentance is also the color of royalty – it's the time to recognize our true identity in Christ, time to claim our true birthright as free sons and daughters of a loving Father who happens to be the Almighty King of the Universe.

This post on the temptation of Jesus Christ in the Desert by Satan sees the color purple as more than a sign of penance – it symbolizes our royal dignity in Jesus Christ, which we are to rediscover in the season of Lent.

About The Author - Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

From a colorful and varied background as a professor of theology, a father of five, business owner, and professional performer Marcellino D'Ambrosio (aka "Dr. Italy") crafts talks, blog posts, books, and videos that are always fascinating, practical, and easy to understand. He is a popular speaker, TV and radio personality, New York Times best-selling author, and pilgrimage host who has been leading people on a journey of discovery for over thirty years. For a fuller bio and video, visit the Dr. Italy page.

Source: Crossroads Initiative

Overcoming Temptation In Christ
by St. Augustine of Hippo

[Editor's Note:

Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church Saint Augustine is commonly recognized as the great teacher in the Western Church between the New Testament and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Here, he comments on the temptation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness for forty days, and points out that in our pilgrimage on earth, we cannot be exempt from trials since it is by means of trials that we progress in the spiritual life and grow in Holiness. ]

Hear, O God, my petition, listen to my prayer. Who is speaking? An individual, it seems. See if it is an individual: I cried out to you from the ends of the earth while my heart was in anguish. Now it is no longer one person; rather, it is one in the sense that Christ is one, and we are all his members. What single individual can cry from the ends of the earth? The one who cries from the ends of the earth is none other than the Son’s inheritance. It was said to him: Ask of me, and I shall give you the nations as your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as your possession. This possession of Christ, this inheritance of Christ, this body of Christ, this one Church of Christ, this unity that we are, cries from the ends of the earth. What does it cry? What I said before: Hear, O God, my petition, listen to my prayer; I cried out to you from the ends of the earth.’ That is, I made this cry to you from the ends of the earth; that is, on all sides.

Why did I make this cry? While my heart was in anguish. The speaker shows that he is present among all the nations of the earth in a condition, not of exalted glory but of severe trial.

Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations.

The one who cries from the ends of the earth is in anguish, but is not left on his own. Christ chose to foreshadow us, who are his body, by means of his body, in which he has died, risen and ascended into heaven, so that the members of his body may hope to follow where their head has gone before.

He made us one with him when he chose to be tempted by Satan. We have heard in the gospel how the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Certainly Christ was tempted by the devil. In Christ you were tempted, for Christ received his flesh from your nature, but by his own power gained salvation for you; he suffered death in your nature, but by his own power gained glory for you; therefore, he suffered temptation in your nature, but by his own power gained victory for you.

If in Christ we have been tempted, in him we overcome the devil. Do you think only of Christ’s temptations and fail to think of his victory? See yourself as tempted in him, and see yourself as victorious in him. He could have kept the devil from himself; but if he were not tempted he could not teach you how to triumph over temptation.

Source: Crossroads Initiative

8 Ways to Beat Temptation

by Mark Altrogge

We all face temptations of many kinds. God wants us to beat them. We don't have to sin, as powerful as temptations feel. Here are 8 ways to gain the victory.

1. Pray before you are tempted

Jesus instructed his disciples to ask God, "Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil." And as he told us to pray, "Give us THIS DAY" our daily bread," it's good to ask God to deliver us from temptation and evil THIS DAY.

2. Flee. A good run is better than a bad fall.

Stay as far away sin as you can. Don't think you won't fall. If you hired someone to transport your most valuable possessions, you wouldn't tell them to see how close to the edge of a cliff they could drive. In Proverbs 7 a "young man lacking sense" wanders near the house of an woman at twilight, and just "happens" to run into her. She's dressed sensually. She says her husband's gone and describes her perfumed bed. Eventually he follows her like an ox going to slaughter. Eve got into trouble by engaging with Satan and looking at how delicious the fruit looked. Flee temptation. Stay out of the car in the park in the dark.

3. Quote Scripture

That's how Jesus overcame the tempter. When you feel like grumbling remind yourself to "rejoice always." When tempted to give a harsh reply think, "A gentle answer turns away wrath." When rankling against correction remind yourself, "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." Of course, to quote Scripture when tempted means we must know it first, which means we must regularly take it in.

4. Pray in the midst of temptation.

Draw near to the throne of grace for help in time of need. Your sympathetic high priest, who was tempted as you are yet without sin, will help you (Heb 4).

5. Get a brother or sister to pray with you.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 says "though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

6. Ask someone to hold you accountable.

A friend once said to me, "Mark, when I get back from my business trip this week, can you ask me if I watched TV in the hotel room? When I'm alone on trips I can be tempted to watch bad stuff. Knowing you are going to ask me will help me fight temptation."

7. Remember God's faithfulness.

"God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 CO 10:13). God will never let us be tempted beyond the strength he gives, and if we ask he'll "provide the way of escape" to get us through it.

8. Remind yourself that sin has consequences.

Remember Galatians 6:7: "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for her husband's death, God forgave him, but told him the sword would never depart from his house, that his own family members would do him great harm and the child he conceived with Bathsheba would die. (2 Sa 12:10–14).

So here's a quick summary:

Pray before you are tempted
Quote Scripture
Pray in the midst of temptation
Get a brother or sister to pray with you
Ask someone to hold you accountable
Remember God's faithfulness
Remind yourself that sin has consequences

Keep fighting the good fight!

About The Author:

Mark Altrogge has written hundreds of songs for worship, including "I Stand in Awe" and "I'm Forever Grateful." ...

Temptation Is Always a Battle Between Now and Later

By Rick Warren

"For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever" (2 Corinthians 4:18 GNT).

We rarely evaluate our values or question our perceptions until we have a crisis. Once we're in deep pain, we begin to examine what we're basing our lives upon. Whether it's materialism, feeling good, or looking good, we instinctively realize there has to be more.

That's why it's so critical that we ask ourselves - before we're mired in pain - what's going to last?

Our culture encourages us to do just the opposite. Our society values the here and now. Tomorrow doesn't matter. Next year doesn't matter. A thousand years from today doesn't matter. Eternity and Heaven don't matter. Live for today.

But the Bible says something different in 1 John 2:17: "The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever" (NIV).

Consider what happens when we're tempted. Temptation isn't just a battle between good and bad or what's best and what's not best.

Temptation is always a battle between now or later. Will I do what God says and enjoy the benefits later, or will I do what I want and enjoy the benefits now?

The Bible teaches us to "fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever" (2 Corinthians 4:18 GNT).

Talk It Over:

What makes it difficult to keep a long-term, eternal perspective when we deal with temptations?

What decisions do you find the most difficult to make while keeping eternity in mind?

How can you help others think about long-term consequences as they make decisions?

Source: Daily Hope with Rick Warren
© 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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