Chp 3 in Pope Benedict XVI’s book, Jesus of Nazareth, concerns the temptations of Jesus — and this chp reveals his theological and canonical method.
“Jesus has to enter into the drama of human existence, for that belongs to the core of his mission; he has to penetrate it completely, down to its uttermost depths, in order to find the ‘lost sheep,’ to bear it on his shoulders, and to bring it home” (26). And it is an “anticipation that condenses into a single expression the struggle he endured at every step of his mission” (27).
Each temptation anticipates the cross. The primacy of God is central to the temptations of Jesus and what the devil offers Jesus diminishes that primacy of God — even the bread of social justice can diminish the primacy of God. “Only when power submits to the measure and the judgment of heaven — of God, in other words — can it become power for good. And only when power stands under God’s blessing can it be trusted” (39).
He finds an apt analogy in Barabbas and Jesus on trial — “two messiah figures, two forms of messianic belief stand in opposition” (40). The Cross stands as an alternative power.
The temptations are about this: “God is God, that God is man’s true Good” (45).