The account of the Temptation in the Gospel from the first Sunday of Lent (Luke 4:1-13) offers overwhelming evidence for the awe-inspiring qualities of Jesus Christ.  One could spend perhaps an entire Lenten season meditating on just the Temptation of Christ, so rich is it with insights into the unique greatness of Jesus.  In the first of a series, this post will focus on a few of the physical aspects of Jesus’ temptation.  Here is an excerpt:

[1] And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit [2] 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.

Often, people gloss over the first section of the Temptation account, moving quickly to the interactions with the devil.  But all Scripture is important, for it is of Christ.  Consider the physical challenges that our Master faced:

  • Jesus goes out in to the wilderness.  It is a harsh environment, a place of wild beasts (Mark 1:13) and death.
  • “And He ate nothing in those days…”  Jesus fasts for 40 days.  Most of us can’t comprehend fasting for that length of time.  40 days is almost 6 weeks.  For us, about 1200 meals.
  • This level of fasting would have been extremely difficult and would have led to severe weight loss.
  • How must weight loss?  Some analysis:  1) a male should eat 2500 calories per to sustain weight, 2) 40 days, 3) to lose 1 pound of weight, one must forgo 3500 calories.  Over forty days, a man in good shape would lose about 30 pounds.
  • Given Jesus’ rigorous life as a 1st century carpenter, losing 30 pounds of weight would be very significant, for He was likely muscular and lean to start with.

Most of us have difficulty getting through a day or two fast during Lent, limiting ourselves to only one meal a day.  Jesus, demonstrating His powerful stamina and will power, abstains from all food.

Clearly, Jesus, the Son of Man, suffers greatly during the Temptation.  It is a feat of His great endurance.  It is a feat of Divine Love.