"And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased'" (Matthew 3:17).
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written,
“One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you,"
and “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’
Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
“Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.”’
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him" (Matthew 4:1-11).
I am a learner of the Truth at a Unity church in South Africa. We have just started a series of teachings about overcoming. I'm asking about the three temptations of Jesus from Matthew 4:1, following how the Spirit God appeared to him in Matthew 3:17.
Jesus is hearing these words in his spirit that he has just been uplifted as the beloved. He is communing with his own shadow during the temptations. How do we explain how these words, which Jesus heard from the "silent small voice" in his spirit, were recorded?
I'm happy to know there are Truth students in South Africa—and I'm equally happy to support your personal work with the Bible. Let me address these two passages in the order in which they appear.
Matthew 3:17: The story of Jesus's baptism by John in the waters of the Jordan River is an outpicturing of his tremendous spiritual awakening to the Truth of his identity and purpose. He is the Christ, the son of the Divine; he had forgotten that for some 30 years since his birth into human form. Now it's time to claim that remembered Truth, and to dedicate his earthly ministry to encouraging others to find the same Truth about themselves. His ministry begins with a withdrawal from his routine life to meditate on this renewed awareness and purpose.
Matthew 4:1-11: Jesus was as fully human as he is fully the Christ, just as we are. That means he contained within him both the Christ energy in full expression and an ego mind fearfully interpreting things on its own. We all have it—an inner voice of love and clarity, and an ego voice with its own spin on things. We may sometimes think of that ego voice as a "devil" trying to block our spiritual process, but it has no "body," nor any identity. It is, literally, a figment of our imagination. How could it be otherwise, when the first spiritual principle affirms One Presence and One Power in the universe There is no other Power but the infinite and divine power we often call God. If Omnipresence is an essence of that Power, as we affirm, then where could there be a "hell" where God is not? Or a power that is not God? Or any kind of "knowing" that does not come from God Mind? It's an impossibility.
Nonetheless, the power of our ego mind must be acknowledged, and we must choose which "voice" to follow. Having just been baptized by John, Jesus was now awake to the totality of his Power and his ministry. He undertook this 40-day "vision quest" to help him undertake his journey. His ego mind is trying to divert him. "You can get rich with this knowledge; you can become famous; you can rule the world!" These are all very human temptations, and Jesus realizes them as such. He understands that his ministry is not to be for his own benefit, but for all of mankind. And so he brushes the temptations aside—no matter how cloaked they are in the guise of scripture. And he returns from the wilderness to teach and demonstrate spiritual Truth, in the hope that humankind will awaken from its dream of limitation and follow him in expressing the Christ.