THE TEMPTATION OF OUR LORD
AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST BY SATAN
(DE CHRISTI TENTATIONE)
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
A "ghost character." When Satan tempts Jesus the final time, Jesus reveals that he knows who Satan is, and accuses him of causing Aaron to doubt his faith.
A "ghost character." When Satan first tempts Jesus, to turn stones to bread, Jesus responds that this would neglect God's word, something that caused Adam to lose his innocence. After Satan's third temptation, Jesus accuses Satan of corrupting the faith of Adam and Eve.
BALE THE PROLOGUE
Bale acts as Chorus. Before Jesus and Satan enters, Bale describes what will happen, and sternly informs the audience that to "print" the play on their minds so that they will learn to recognize and defend against Satan. After the play, Bale reappears to repeat the message, and to add that the point is not that Christians should fast - Christ did not teach that - but that they should ignore the voices of strangers and hold the Scriptures above all else.
A "ghost character." After Satan tempts Jesus the first time, Jesus describes how the word of God preserved Daniel.
A "ghost character." After Satan's third temptation, Jesus accuses Satan of corrupting the faith of Adam and Eve.
After Jesus has been tempted three times, two angels descend and bring him food. The First Angel announces that the Father has sent them, and expresses his amazement that Jesus could take on human form, which is so weak and fragile. The First Angel then directly addresses the audience, pointing out that the Lord has become mortal, been born and circumcised, and fasted, specifically for them, and that Jesus has conquered the frail nature of Man.
When Jesus first enters, he directly addresses the audience, describing how God wishes him to be tempted as a lesson to Man, and how this does not mean he wishes Christians to fast as he has fasted. Although he knows Satan is coming to tempt him, when Satan does enter, disguised as a Religious Christian, Jesus talks with him. When Satan tempts him to turn stones into food, Jesus says that to do so is unnecessary, since God will provide him with meat when the time is right. He also says that others, such as Moses and Daniel, have been preserved by God's word, and he expects no less. Satan tempts him the second time, saying that it is written that if he throws himself off a mountain, God will send angels to catch him. Jesus points out that Satan is reading the Psalm incorrectly, since he protects those who are godly in all ways, and to test God is not godly. Further, he points to other biblical passages that say not to tempt God and asks why Satan does not quote first, the verse about crushing the serpent underfoot. Satan tempts Jesus a third time, offering him all the cities of the world if Jesus will worship him. At this point, Jesus becomes angry, and reveals that he knows who Satan is. He promises to destroy Satan's kingdom and bring God's word to the whole world. Two Angels then bring Jesus food, which he gratefully receives. He ends by speaking directly to the audience, stating that the only way to know God is through him.
A "ghost character." Bale quotes Job as reporting that the devil is busy and works always for the damnation of all people.
A "ghost character." Jesus refers to Moses as the reason his fast is the length it is. After Satan's first temptation, Jesus describes how God's word alone sustained Moses. When Satan tempts Jesus the final time, Jesus reveals that he knows who Satan is, and accuses him of causing Moses to doubt his faith.
After Jesus has been tempted three times, two angels descend and bring him food. The Other Angel announces that they have brought food, and that they were the ones who first announced his birth to the world. He then comments that, although God created the world, there are few who show him (in his human form Jesus) any sort of respect or love. He then addresses the audience directly, stating that they need to take up faith as a shield, and that if Man does so, the angels will rejoice.
A "ghost character." Bale quotes Paul as confirming that the devil is busy and works always for the damnation of all people.
A "ghost character." Bale quotes Peter as telling Christians to resist the devil through faith.
The disguise Satan uses when he tempts Jesus.
Satan enters and announces himself as everywhere at once, who seeks to destroy men by tempting them to lose their souls. He disguises himself somewhat anachronistically as a Religious Christian, and engages Jesus in conversation. His first temptation is to suggest that since Jesus is the Son of God, he can turn the stones to bread and feed himself. When that fails, he suggests that the Scriptures promise that Jesus can throw himself off a mountain and be protected from falling by angels. Further, he suggests that should Jesus test this Scripture and come to any harm, it proves God is not true. However, when Jesus quotes further biblical verse to show that God is not to be tested, and that the serpent should be crushed underfoot, Satan is forced into admitting he did not quote fully because it did not serve his purpose. He seems angry, but continues to walk with Jesus, suggesting they head for a mountain. Once there, he shows Jesus the world and tells him that all the cities are his to give, and he will give them all to Jesus if Jesus will only worship him. Jesus, of course, is outraged, and Satan declares that he sees no reason to continue there, since his temptations will be bound to fail. However, he promises to send Jesus to his Father within four years, and to work to own the priests and even the vicar of Rome, and win the world in that fashion.