7. The Sixth Beatitude

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Matt. 5:8. (King James Version)

This window portrays Jesus at the beginning of his ministry when he was tempted by the devil. As he goes through this inner struggle with conflicting thoughts and feelings, he is tempted to accept selfish motives and resort to unworthy acts. In this situation his singleness of purpose throws light on what purity of heart means. (Matt. 4:1 - 11)

The intensity of this experience is dramatized in this encounter with the devil. The devil is shown with all his diabolical cunning. He is a crafty and repulsive figure, both male and female, with his distorted head, piercing eyes, misshapen body, boney fingers and arms, and serpentine tail. He presses his body against Jesus as he urges him to accept his proposals ant the rewards this will bring.

The first temptation is to turn the stones at his feet into bread and appease his hunger. To this Jesus answers, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."

With the second temptation, Jesus is taken to the pinnacle of the temple, seen in the distance in this painting. And here the devil says, "If you are the son of God, cast yourself down and show that no harm will come to you." He was tempted to think of himself as having immunity from harm, which other people did not have. It was an appeal to the spectacular. Jesus answered, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

In the third temptation, Jesus is taken onto a high mountain and shown all the kingdoms of the world. The devil offers the leadership of all these nations to him. And as he speaks, he temptingly holds the golden crown for Jesus to see. Immediately he responds, "Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, 'Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'"


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