Lord Jesus Christ in the Wilderness

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By: Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy
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The Lord Jesus Christ in the Wilderness

After His baptism, the Lord Jesus Christ went into the wilderness in order to prepare in solitude by fasting and prayer for the accomplishing of His great work for which He had come to earth. For forty days and forty nights, He was in the wilderness with the beasts, not eating any food.

Then, the Devil came to Christ and tried to seduce Him into sin with cunning questions and delusions as he does to every man.

The Devil said to Jesus Christ, as if to say, in vain do You torment Yourself with hunger, “If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”

The Saviour said to him in answer, “It is written (in the Bible), man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Deut. 8:3).

Then, the Devil led Jesus Christ to Jerusalem, set Him on a pinnacle of the Temple and said, “If You are the Son of God, cast Yourself down (for You there is no danger), because in the Scripture it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over Thee, and on their hands shall they bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone (Ps. 90:11,12).

But Jesus said to him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, that is, where it is not necessary, do not demand and do not expect miracles (Deut. 6:16).

After that, the Devil took Him upon a high mountain and there in the twinkling of an eye, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said, “All these things I will give Thee, because power over them has been handed over to me, and I can give it to whomever I will. All these things I will give Thee, if Thou will fall down and worship me.”

Jesus Christ said to him, “Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve (Deut. 6:13).

Then, the Devil in disgrace left Jesus Christ for the time being, and immediately angels came and ministered unto Him.

Thus, the Saviour conquered temptation from the Devil and demonstrated in so doing that He came to free people from the power of the Devil without any concessions to evil.

Following the example of the fast of Christ, the Holy Orthodox Church establishes a forty day fast, which is called Great Lent and begins seven weeks before Pascha (Easter) — the bright Resurrection of Christ — and also establishes other fasts. The fast enables a person to cleanse himself of evil, of sinful inclinations, to help him fix his thoughts on God and to be closer to Him.

Note: See the Gospels of Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13.

(from: The Law of God
by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)