The First Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness (Bread to Stones)

Some say your value is based on what you can produce. The ability to flood a market, or to provide a revolutionary experience or product determines your relevance. Soon, they gravitate to you for more.  Appetites are ready for what you might offer.

This is the first temptation Jesus experiences in the wilderness. He’s tempted to become a producer of things or experiences people will want more and more of. And if he did, people would come for what he would offer and their lives would be filled with their satisfied personal desires. Or, they might turn on him if what he offers is no longer relevant or desirable.

But Jesus chooses another path. Instead of gratifying our desires, he begins to change them. Instead of gratification of our selves, he calls us to lose ourselves in order that we might find them. For when we first meet Jesus our selves are lost in darkness — our desires are self-centered, we grab what we can to make ourselves happy. This never works, but we keep at it.

Jesus, though, sets us free from our old darkness, our old desires. He begins to give us a new desire, a desire to see God’s loving will being done on earth as it is in heaven. In this new desire, we think less of our desires, ourselves. We begin to desire what’s best not just for ourselves, but for all people around us as if their needs were as vivid as our own.