Dealing with Dragons

When I saw this picture, I laughed. After all, Jesus is hanging out in the wilderness shortly after he is baptized and there, at his feet, is a DRAGON.

Mind you, it’s only a little dragon about the size of a dog. Yet, dragons don’t really have the best symbolism in Christianity… after all, in the Book of Revelation, the Devil himself is depicted as a dragon! Yet, here Jesus is, hanging out with all these animals, including the dragon, not slaying the dragon as St. George did later, but just… praying.

Christ in the Wilderness, by Moretto da Brescia, c. 1515-20. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, United States.

Not that He is ignoring the dragon. On the contrary! After forty days of fasting and prayer, Jesus will confront Satan, who will tempt him with food, earthly power, and heavenly power. But, at the same time, Jesus isn’t rushing off to slay the dragon. Indeed, Satan will survive after this and will come later to tempt the Twelve, the disciples, and now us, Jesus’ latest batch of disciples!

In some ways, it seems almost unfair… after all, why couldn’t Jesus just destroy Satan when Satan was so close to Him and end Satan’s power completely so that we don’t have to face such great temptations?

Yet, perhaps Jesus did some even greater. After all, we will always have trials and temptations in our lives, with or without Satan’s interference. But, Jesus shows us how we can deal with everything: through prayer and trust in God. Just as He relied on the Father, so we too may rely on Jesus when we encounter difficulties and temptations.

Even if we face Satan himself.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for showing us a better way to overcome our temptations. Let us rely on You when we face temptations. Help us see Your Face and be aware of Your Presence when in the midst of our struggles.




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