"Then." After the heavens opened, hell is opened. The King must not only be in perfect harmony with the order and beauty of the heavens, He must face all the disorder and ugliness of the abyss. Goodness at its highest He knows, and is; evil at its lowest He must face, and overcome. And so in the wilderness He stands as humanity's representative between the two, responding to the one and refusing the other. How gloriously He won the battle and bruised the head of the serpent. Every vulnerable point was attacked: hunger, trust, and responsibility. When these are held, no other avenue through which the foe can assault the citadel of the human will remains.
The need of material sustenance, the spirit's confidence in God, and the carrying out of a divine commission in a divine way-every gate our Captain held, and the foe, defeated, left Him.
The King now commenced His preaching, and in the same words as the Baptist had used, "Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." He, however, went further than John, who could only announce and point to another. Jesus immediately followed the announcement with the word spoken to individuals, "Follow Me," thus claiming the position of King. That kingly word includes repentance and the Kingdom.
The narrative shows how, in the early stages of His work, men were attracted by the material benefits of His kingly rule rather than by the spiritual principles He revealed. How blind men are! Had they sought only the spiritual, He would have ensured them the material. Grasping only for the lower, they lost both.
the Third Week after Epiphany