And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward hungry.
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Augustine of Hippo
De Trin., 4, 13: Why did He offer Himself to temptation? That He might be our mediator in vanquishing temptation not by aid only, but by example.
Lib. 83. Quest. q. 81: Otherwise; The sum of all wisdom is to be acquainted with the Creator and the creature. The Creator is the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the creature is partly invisible, - as the soul to which we assigna threefold nature, (as in the command to love God with the whole heart, mind, and soul,) - partly visible as the body, which we divide into four elements; the hot, the cold, the liquid, the solid. The number ten then, which stands forthe whole law of life, taken four times, that is, multiplied by that number which we assign for the body, because by the body the law is obeyed or disobeyed, makes the number forty. All the aliquot parts in this number, viz. 1, 2, 4, 5,8, 10, 20, taken together make up the number 50. Hence the time of our sorrow and affliction is fixed at forty days; the state of blessed joy which ...
Jesus wished to manifest a certain corporeal weakness, arising from his continued fast, that the devil might venture to tempt him; and after a fast of 40 days and 40 nights he was hungry. (Haydock)
Christ was well acquainted with the thoughts of the wicked fiend, and his great desire of tempting or trying him. The devil had learnt that he was come into the world from the songs of the angels at his birth, and from the mouth of the shepherds and of St. John the Baptist. To fast 40 days without being hungry, was certainly far above the strength of man, but to be hungry at any time is inconsistent with God; for which reason our blessed Saviour, that he might not manifestly declare his divinity, was afterwards hungry. (St. Hilary)
On this example, as well as that of Moses and Elias, who also fasted 40 days, the fast of Lent was instituted by the apostles, and is of necessity to be observed according to the general consent of the ancient Fathers. St. Jerome (ep. liv. ad Marcel.) says, we f...
Ap. Anselm: This desert is that between Jerusalem and Jericho, where the robbers used to resort. It is called Ham maim, i.e. ‘of blood,’ from the bloodshed which these robbers caused there; hence the man was said (in the parable) to have fallen among robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, being a figure of Adam, who was overcome by daemons. It was therefore fit that the place where Christ overcame the Devil, should be the same in which the Devil in the parable overcomes man.
Hom. in Ev., 16, 1: Some doubt what Spirit it was that led Jesus into the desert, for that it is said after, “The Devil took him into the holy city.” But true and without question agreeable to the context is the received opinion, that it was the Holy Spirit; that His own Spirit should lead Him thither where the evil spirit should find Him and try Him.
We should know that there are three modes of temptation; suggestion, delight, and consent; and we when we are tempted commonly fall into delight or consent, because being born of the sin of the flesh, we bear with us whence we afford strength for the contest; but God who incarnate in the Virgin’s womb came into the world without sin, carried within Him nothing of a contrary nature. He could then be tempted by suggestion; but the delight of sin never gnawed His soul, and therefore all that temptation of the Devil was without not within Him.
Hom. in Ev., 16, 5: The Creator of all things took no food whatever during forty days. We also, at t...
The Lord being baptized by John with water, is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be baptized by the fire of temptation. ‘Then,’ i.e. when the voice of the Father had been given from heaven.
Hom. 13: Whoever thou art then that after thy baptism sufferest grievous trials, be not troubled thereat; for this thou receivedst arms, to fight, notto sit idle. God does not hold all trial from us; first, that we may feel that we are become stronger; secondly, that we may not be puffed up by the greatness of the gifts we have received; thirdly, that the Devil may have experience that we have entirely renounced him; fourthly, that by it we may be made stronger; fifthly, that we may receive a sign of the treasure entrusted to us; for the Devil would not come upon us to tempt us, did he not see us advanced to greater honours.
The Devil comes against men to tempt them, but since He could not come against Christ, therefore Christ came against the Devil.
The Devil is wont to be most urgent with t...
He was afterwards an hungered; Matthew 4:2 affording him a point to lay hold of and approach, that by actual conflict He might show how to prevail and be victorious. Just so do wrestlers also: when teaching their pupils how to prevail and overcome, they voluntarily in the lists engage with others, to afford these in the persons of their antagonists the means of seeing and learning the mode of conquest. Which same thing then also took place. For it being His will to draw him on so far, He both made His hunger known to him, and awaited his approach, and as He waited for him, so He dashed him to earth, once, twice, and three times, with such ease as became Him.
3. But that we may not, by hurrying over these victories, mar your profit, let us begin from the first assault, and examine each with exact care.
He fasted to show us that fasting is a great weapon against temptations, just as the love of delicacies was the beginning of all sin.
He fasts as long as Moses and Elijah did, for if He had fasted longer, it would have seemed that He had taken flesh in appearance only.
He hungered only when He permitted His nature to do so, to give the devil an opportunity through hunger to approach Him and engage Him in combat, so that Christ could throw him down and vanquish him and grant us the victory.