The story of Jesus being tempted by the devil for 40 days and nights in the desert is an incredibly risky story for Christianity.
Why? Because it betrays the sheer humanity of Jesus. In religion, temptation is understood as the inclination to sin… the desire to perform an act that one may regret later. The inclination to sin? The desire to perform a regrettable act? Usually, in religion, the inclination to sin and the battle against desire are enough to get you disciplined or removed.Have you ever experienced a long desert of temptation? Forty days of intense hand to hand combat with a sinful inclination or a strong desire to commit a regrettable act? Forty days of spiritual warfare without any relief? Pray that this cup does not come your way. It sifts you like wheat. It is brutal and you don’t come out the other end the same.There is something unspeakable about it.
This story of Jesus makes him unflinchingly human. Accessible. Real.