From the November/December, 2010 issue of Touchstone
Trial by Desert by Patrick Henry Reardon

Trial by Desert

Students of Holy Scripture have long recognized that Matthew and Luke describe Jesus’ temptations in a way that contrasts his obedience in the desert with the disobedience of ancient Israel.

Both evangelists, in spite of differently arranging their narrative sequences, apparently relied on a common source, according to which our Lord quoted the Book of Deuteronomy in response to each of the three temptations. This sustained appeal to the final book of the Torah—invoked as a weapon to resist temptation—summons the memory of Israel’s moral failings during its forty years of desert wandering.

The immediate context of the accounts furthers this purpose: The parallel between Jesus’ Baptism and the passage t . . .


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