After his baptism, the Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness. Alone and hungry, he is tempted by the devil. The first temptation is to use his divine powers to meet his own needs, by turning a stone into bread. But Jesus does not waver from his trust in God his Father. The second temptation is to become a secular Messiah and seek worldly, political power. But Jesus is following a different path. Finally, the devil tempts Jesus to do something sensational – a miraculous stunt that will attract the attention of the crowds.
The temptations that Jesus faced in the wilderness were real. In rejecting them, he set himself on the road that his Father had planned for him – to save humanity from our sins by his suffering, death and resurrection. Luke tells us that, at the end of the forty days, the devil left him, ‘to return at the appointed time.’ The struggle between good and evil would come to its terrible climax on Good Friday. The same struggle takes place in the life of each of us. During Lent, we symbolically go into the wilderness with the Lord, and renew our desire to reject temptation and follow him – all the way to the Cross.