The Prompt - The Singapore Catholic Webzine
Home | About The Prompt | Contact Us | Links

Tempations of Christ. The Three Temptations of Christ:
What We Need, What We Want
and Who We Serve

by Vincent Hor
Illustrations by jeftan6@mac.com

Author's Note
This article is the author’s personal understanding of the three temptations Jesus overcame when He fasted for forty days in the desert, written wholly for the purpose of aiding reflection.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

In the period of Lent, one is reminded of the temptations Christ faced when he fasted for forty days in the desert. Jesus spent forty days in the desert without food in his preparation for His life’s mission. In these forty days, we are told the devil came to Him three times, to tempt Jesus in three different ways. We know that Jesus eventually overcame all three temptations, temptations that dealt with not just His physical necessities but His spiritual identity. It is an effort to lead us to understand that we too can triumph over such temptations just as He did.

In my personal reflection, these temptations are by no means a mere depiction of Christ’s personal struggle in preparing for His redemptive mission. It is also a complete representation of the human struggle in our Christian identity. Being Christians, we believe in not just our physical existence on earth but a spiritual identity for which we serve. These three temptations that Christ faced very much encompasses all that we are to face in our lifelong struggle to live the Christian faith.

Jesus is first tempted to turn stone into bread to satisfy His hunger (Matt 4:3-4). This relates to the satisfaction of our basic needs. Jesus is tempted a second time, this time to show off His power for personal glory (Matt 4:5-7). This relates to our personal quest for fame and glory. Finally, Jesus is tempted to declare His service to the devil in return for everything in the world (Matt 4:8-10). This deals with the issue of our Christian identity and who we serve.

A choice between the devil or the angel.


Christ's temptations do not merely depict Christ's struggle to prepare for His mission. It also represents the human struggle in our Christian identity.

Next The first temptation—what we need ...