In Mark’s gospel we read that Jesus was tested by Satan in the desert (Mk. 1:13). Matthew mentions three trials, which are depicted in this miniature. Three times Jesus is confronted with the devil. The devil with his goatee, his horns and the thorny protrusions on his shoulders and elbows has a second face on the underside of his belly. He is addressing Jesus, pointing to things the conversation is about. Above left, it is the stones that Jesus has to turn into loaves (Mt 4:3). At the top right, Jesus is sitting on a mountain and the devil points to some things that represent the splendour of all the kingdoms of the world (Mt 4:8-9). Below, Jesus sits on the highest point of the temple (Mt. 4:5-6). Satan tried to tempt Jesus into a life of spectacular deeds, wealth and power. But Jesus did not allow Himself to be persuaded. He did not seek himself, but the honour of God and the happiness of people. In the forty days in the desert, Jesus made his choice, a choice for God’s new world.
Pastor: Peter van Dael SJ
Image: Jesus put to the test by Satan. Miniature in an English psalter from 1212-1230 in The Morgan Library, New York.