The Three Temptations

I have made great efforts to investigate the scene of the Temptation and to relate it as it actually transpired. Now Lucifer confronted Christ Jesus and spoke more or less as is recorded in the other Gospels: “If you enter my realm I will give you all the beauty and the glory contained in the old kingdoms. But you must sever yourself from the other Gods and acknowledge me!” But the Christ Being came from the spiritual worlds and knew who Lucifer is. Untouched as He was by this temptation, the Christ Being knew how the gods are truly served—and He had the power to repel the onslaught of Lucifer.

Then Lucifer made a second attack but called Ahriman to his support, and both addressed the Christ. Lucifer, to goad His pride; Ahriman, to play upon His fear. “If you wilt acknowledge me, I will nullify the effects of the fall and no harm will come to you!” “Cast yourself down!” And both set upon Him. But as in their onslaught each one held the other in balance, Christ Jesus could save Himself from them. He found the strength that humans must find on earth if they are to stand firm against Lucifer and Ahriman.

Then Ahriman bade Lucifer depart, and made the final attack. He spoke words of which the Gospel of Matthew contains an echo: “Turn the stones into bread if thou wouldst boast of Divine power!” The Christ Being replied, “Men do not live by bread alone, but by the spiritual forces which come from the spiritual worlds.” None knew this better than He, for He had just descended from the spiritual worlds. And Ahriman said, “You know only how the Spirit acts, the Spirit who descends from the heights; you have not yet lived in the world of men. There below, in the human world, there are men who must make stones into bread, who cannot draw their nourishment from the Spirit alone.” That was the moment when Ahriman communicated to Christ something that could be known on earth but that the God who had for the first time come to earth could not yet know.

And so one thing remained unsolved at the Temptation. The questions were not all finally solved: the questions of Lucifer, yes; but not the questions of Ahriman. For that, something more was necessary.

This is an abbreviated excerpt from Lecture 5 in The Fifth Gospel by Rudolf Steiner, GA 148. See the full text here: Rudolf Steiner Archive

Translation Laura Liska
Image Representative of Humanity, sculpture by Rudolf Steiner and Edith Maryon, photo: Xue Li

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