Recently I’ve been intrigued by parallels and references in three passages of the Bible. The first, is Matthew 4:1-4, the story of Jesus being led into the wilderness and his first temptation. He quotes from Deuteronomy 8, which I mention here only as a reference. The temptation of Christ, however, mirrors the first temptation in Genesis 3:1-19. The Genesis passage is the first temptation of mankind. All three of these passages seem to connect in various parallel ways. What has become most interesting to me about the two temptations is their similarities or differences.

Similarities

  1. Temptation, obviously, takes place in both passages.
  2. Both passages involve food.
  3. Both have Satan (the serpent) as the tempter.

The differences however, bring a striking contrast.

Differences

  1. In the garden, everything they need for food is available. No mention of hunger. Jesus is hungry and apparently has no food. He is in need. Yet, the serpent is successful in the first temptation despite all its plenty. Satan is not successful with Jesus.
  2. The first temptation happened in paradise. Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness.
  3. The serpent approaches the woman. Jesus enters the wilderness and finds Satan.
  4. Eve knew the word of God and ignored it (i.e. Do not eat of the tree in the midst of the garden). Jesus quoted it and lived by it.
  5. The sin brings about death. The obedience brings about life.

These parallels may not be profound or plentiful in number. However, they are interesting parallels, especially if you look at the full context of Deuteronomy 8. There, living by God’s commands is important–it brings life.

The moral of the story? Circumstances don’t make good excuses for disobeying the word of God. Jesus had more difficult circumstance when he was met with temptation. Yet, he did not fall into temptation. He obeyed the word of God and through it found life.

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