By Companion Jack A. Holloway
Illustrous Associate Grand Chaplain, Grand Council of Florida
Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness
(Photo Credit: Wikimedia)
"And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness; tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry." -Luke 4:1-2 RSV
"And Jesus answered him, 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.'" -John 4:4 (RSV)
"And Jesus answered him, 'It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'" -John 4:8 (RSV)
"And Jesus answered him, 'It is said, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" -John 4:12 (RSV)
For forty years in the wilderness, the new nation of Israel after being saved from the bondage of Egypt was taught, tested, and encouraged to rely on the word of God. In this New Testament lesson, Jesus was tested and tempted for forty days and as in the rest of his earthly life was an example of how we should deal with hardships and temptations. We all have our times of trouble and discouragement and we all have our own weaknesses to overcome whether it is our worldly appetites, our craving for power and prestige, or expecting God to give us whatever we ask for whether it is for His glory or only our desires. In all these examples, Jesus did not argue or bargain with the Devil (approaches we often do at our peril) but answered with the words of scripture which the Devil has been losing since the beginning of history. We learn early in our Masonic career that when we are armed with truth and justice we can prevail when facing a difficult or dangerous situation. The words of the Bible Companions are the only way to know what truth and justice are, and our Cryptic degrees emphasize the importance of preserving them.
Almighty God, you have given us Holy Scripture for our learning and have told us it is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Thank you, Lord God for this gift. Amen.