Young people aren’t as religious as they used to be. According to the Pew Research Center, American adults under 40 are 17% less likely to be affiliated with a religion than older Americans. They are also 18% less likely to engage in daily prayer and 12% less likely to attend a weekly religious service.
While the practice of giving something up for the 40 days of Lent is still common among Christians, and well-known outside the Christian community, shockingly few young people are familiar with its basis in scripture. Given the deep significance of this Bible story to both religious and secular culture, it is high time that an online comedy magazine reprinted it in full.
The following is a synthesis of Matthew 4:1–11, Mark 1:12–13, Luke 4:1–13, and a number of less well-known verses.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, departed the Jordan and was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus fasted there for forty days and nights and afterwards he was famished. The devil then appeared before Jesus and said, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by the word of God.’”
A moment passed and then the devil said, “I'm not 100% on the rules here, but I bet you could also turn them into candy. Wouldn’t you like some candy?”
And Jesus replied, “Well, I mean, sure I would. Still, man shall not live–”
“Or some sugary cereal!” the Devil interjected. “How about some sweet, sugary cereal?” This was quite tempting, for Jesus did love sugary cereal, and especially drinking the milk straight from the bowl after it was eaten. Still, he resisted the devil, saying, “It is written, ‘Do not’ um, ‘put the Lord your God to the test.’”
The devil then took Jesus to the holy city and led him to the temple where, laid before the altar, was a flat screen TV and Roku. Offering Jesus the remote, the devil said to him, “Take this, and you may binge watch Game of Thrones.”
When Jesus heard this he was greatly distressed, for he was still on season 6 and wished to catch up before the start of Season 8, fearing that one of his apostles (Simon) would spoil something if he did not, so incessant was their Monday-morning GoT chatter. At length, Jesus said, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord,” or something along those lines, and departed the Temple, feeling lousy.
From there, Jesus went to the market to eat and drink with Peter. They laughed and were merry, but as Jesus began to turn his third cup of water to wine, the devil appeared to him once again and said, “Ok, I know you’re at dinner and don’t want to be ‘on your phone,’ but you should really check Twitter. It looks like one of your tweets is going viral and you wouldn’t want to miss a perfect opportunity to promote your new email newsletter.”
But Jesus rose and said, “Begone, Satan!”
So the devil left him, and Peter was much impressed, though he wondered why Jesus had not told him about his newsletter and worried about it for many days.