With  this Sunday’s Gospel in mind, I wanted to post this dramatic image, one of my favorite interpretations by one of my favorite artists, James Tissot. 

I’ve written and preached about Tissot in the past, and continue to believe that his series of watercolors on the life of Christ remains a singular triumph — realistic, challenging, poignant, haunting.

This one, in particular, makes you look at the events in this Sunday’s scripture with new eyes. The devil tempting Jesus isn’t a guy with a red cape, horns and hooves; it’s not Jon Lovitz on SNL. Satan takes the form of a starving, ragged, poor man, begging for bread to keep him alive. In short, a figure God could not possibly refuse.

And yet, Jesus resists.

Tissot reminds us that temptation doesn’t always look evil or ugly — the devil can, as Shakespeare put it, “assume a pleasing shape.”