In Genesis 2, Eve saw that the fruit was “good for food, pleasing to the eye, and to be desired to make one wise.” We usually pass over this quickly ("ok, so she wanted the fruit..."), but nothing in the Bible is accidental. Look closely:
Good for food = temptation to love sensual pleasure over God
Desired to make one wise = temptation to love self over God
Christ is also tempted in three ways: To turn stones into bread, to worship Satain in exchange for glory of kingdoms, and to test God by leaping from temple.
Anything look familiar?
To turn stones into bread = temptation to love sensual pleasure over GodTo worship Satain in exchange for glory of kingdoms = temptation love glory, beauty over God
To test God by leaping from temple = temptation to love self over God
Of course, the eternal Son of God did not need to be tested through his temptation--but we do. So His threefold temptation--and threefold victory--is available to us through the season of Lent. We do this through fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Funny, there's that number three again...
Fasting: loving God more than our sensual pleasure
Almsgiving: loving God more than the beautiful things of creation
Prayer: loving God more than our own self
John Bergsma points out in his blog the very cool point that the kings of Israel were called to overcome this threefold temptation, too, in Deut 17:16-17, but we'll leave that alone for now. Since we share in Christ's kingship from our baptism, it's a point well taken.
And about a zillion more like it could be made. The Bible is a great symphony of God's plan for his creation. And this theme of threefold desire--present in the Fall, Christ's temptation, and our Lenten struggles--is one of the great ways that He is, this Lent, undoing the fall in those who permit it. God grant us a blessed Lent!