Messages from Deacon Matthew

March 22, 2020


The Gospel of the First Sunday of Lent always narrates the story of the Temptation of Jesus. This story has some other deeper messages than the ones that are commonly understood at its first reading. More than anything else, what Satan seems to be targeting in this temptation is the humanity of Christ. One of the theological traditions of the Church, together with certain Church Fathers, maintained that the major reason why Satan rebelled against God was because of the creation of a human being whom God would make in his image and likeness. This creature will have both spirit and body which the angels do not have. They will be given dominion over the earth while the angels will be their guard. To make matters worse, the eternal Son of God, before whom all the angels bow in worship in heaven, will also assume the nature of this creature.

This second circumstance proved to be too much for Satan. It reinforced his jealousy for he could not only reject to be the guard of a creature lower in nature than himself, but he could also not see this “inferior creature” raised to the glory and nature of the divine through the process that will begin with the Incarnation and culminate in the Ascension of Christ. This is the main reason why Satan was joyful when humanity in Adam fell from grace and had its nature tarnished with evil. The devil believed that the Son of God would no longer desire to take human nature after this catastrophic fall, but contrary to his belief, the eternal Son of God became even more intrigued in assuming this form. It was this assumption, which is theologically called Incarnation, that caused Jesus to become the second, or last Adam as St. Paul rightly described him (cf. I Cor. 15:45), because he will represent the same humanity that Adam failed in the Garden of Eden.

Jesus, as the second Adam, has to reverse what the first Adam destroyed so as to restore humanity to its lost dignity. This is precisely why Jesus has to be tempted by Satan so that the route through which man met his downfall will be the route for his restoration to glory. Would you not imagine that the real target of the enemy was to DESTROY the humanity of Christ so that the journey of the restoration of human beings to their glory will be hampered? If there is no humanity of Christ, then there would be no crucifixion, no Resurrection, and no Ascension when human nature was raised to the glory of divinity. If Christ had changed stone into bread, he would have manifested only his divinity as a miracle-working God. If he had fallen from the parapet of the temple to show Satan that he was the Son of God, he would have renounced the self-emptying that made him take the form of a slave, even though he is in the form of God (cf. Philippians 2:6-7). If he had worshipped the devil to gain the kingdoms of the world, he would have left humanity behind in that elevation which made the powers of the world be subject to it. Christ’s defeat of the devil at the desert is humanity’s defeat of its ancient enemy that sought to hinder its glorification since the creation of the world.

Deacon Matthew Nwafor

Infant of Prague Catholic Church

214 Marine Blvd.

Jacksonville, NC 28540


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Last Updated  04/06/20