I WAS TAKEN to task yesterday over my comment that Jesus could — in theory — have given in to Satan’s temptations. How could I suggest anything so outlandish?
Well, for a start if we didn’t occasionally suggest outlandish things, even hypothetical possibilities,we would never make any sort of progress as human beings. Some of the most outlandish ideas (at the time) have ultimately proven to be correct.
In this case I was simply pointing out that as a human being Jesus bar-Joseph was equipped with that essential God-given facility — free will. Had he not been then he would have been lacking in his humanity with all that that implied, as I said in yesterday’s posting. So allowing for that we have to assume that the possibility to succumb to temptation exists — in theory.
Our Lord resisted because of His love for His Father, His understanding of how wrong giving in would be, perhaps because He knew (who better?) that anything that Satan wanted Him to do would be bound to turn out badly. Did He at any stage feel that it would be so much easier to say ‘yes’? Perhaps.We do and why should the human Jesus feel differently?
There is a lesson to be learned here. Satan can only tempt us to the extent that God permits him to and we will not be tempted beyond our ability to resist. But if we understand that and we also love God and understand how wrong giving in would be and that anything Satan wants us to do will turn out badly and we ask for help from Our Lord and Our Lady and our guardian angel and our patron saint (and aren’t I the lucky one because mine is Michael?!) Satan and all his demons will rapidly go and look for easier pickings elsewhere.
Free will is about choices: we make them every minute of every day. The only free will that matters is the choice between saying ‘yes’ to God and saying ‘yes’ to Satan. “With a little help from our friends” in heaven making the right choice becomes much easier.