Temptation Overcome

In the fourth chapter of Matthew's gospel we read : "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." Jesus was just ready to begin his earthly ministry. He had been baptized of John in the Jordan, and we are told that the "Holy Ghost descended . . . upon him," that is, he had come into the full understanding of God ; and yet he was for forty days thereafter in the wilderness, being tempted by the devil, — evil thoughts.

Mrs. Eddy gives as one of the definitions of wilderness: "Loneliness; doubt; darkness" (Science and Health, p. 597). For forty days and forty nights, in the darkness and loneliness of mortal thought, Jesus struggled against the evil thoughts which persistently presented themselves to him.

Human sense, struggling and fasting, became faint from the long vigil and hunger, and it was then that evil presented to Jesus' thought the most subtle of all temptations, — "If thou be the Son of God." Was this faint and hungry human being the divine Wayshower, who was come to earth to point out to all sin-sick and suffering humanity the path to eternal life? Then followed a strong temptation to test his power by material means and turn stones into bread, but immediately he rebuked the thought by saying, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." He realized that the outward manifestation is but the proof of the inward understanding, that the demonstration must be made in his own consciousness; he must know the truth without the aid of material means.

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Gratitude and Healing
October 16, 1915

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