1LA23. Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7. In those times, “In the near East the serpent represented the deity who controls male and female fecundity. Many women, in Israel and neighboring nations, turned to serpent-cult in order to ensure a fruitful marriage.” “Hebrew prophecy objected to such sexual practices, claiming that Yahweh alone was the true source of fruitfulness.” (Guide for the Christian Assembly, III, p. 9) Consequently, in ancient Judaism, the serpent was not seen as achieving anything good but as the provocateur of evil. In Genesis 1 everything that God made was good. Genesis 3 reveals that the source of evil is man’s disobedience to God’s Will when he ate from the tree of which God had forbidden him to eat. (Genesis 3:17) Before eating of the forbidden fruit, “the man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25) After eating of the forbidden fruit, “then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked.” (Genesis 3:7a) At first they lived in total innocence; later in the guilt of their disobedience and no longer having God’s protective presence, they knew shame.
Matthew 4:1-11. “At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” When the devil saw that Jesus was vulnerable because of his hunger after forty days in the desert, the devil took the opportunity to tempt Jesus. Jesus had recently come from being baptized when the voice that came from the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son.” (Matthew 3:17) So the devil began his temptation by saying, “If you are the Son of God.” The Holy Spirit was having Jesus baptized now with fire of the devil. In his humanity the only source of strength Jesus could go to was the Holy Spirit himself who, in fact, gave him the resources he needed to fend off the devil with great effectiveness and grace. “Then the devil left him and behold, angels came and ministered to him.” Although the scripture text does not expound on how deeply this experience left Jesus, yet the indications are that it had a terribly wrenching effect on him. The only other occasion that I can find in which God sent an angel to console and strengthen Jesus in his humanity was in the Agony in the Garden. (Luke 22:43-44)
Romans 5:12-19. “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous.” The challenge for us is to join ourselves to the obedience of Jesus and to reject the disobedience of Adam.