Jesus denied pleasure in the desert and embraced pain at the cross for our sake. In each synoptic Gospel, Jesus begins his ministry after his baptism by his temptation in the wilderness. And in each Gospel, Jesus ends his sufferings at the cross. Jesus denies the pleasures of temptation in the wilderness and embraces the pain of death at the cross. He did both for our sake.
Maximos the Confessor (580–662) observed this twofold overcoming of temptation in his twenty-first reply to a bishop named Thalassios. And I think he is on to something (if not in whole, in part).
Here’s how I think it works. Jesus overcame the temptations of pleasure in the desert and pain at the cross in order to defeat demonic powers, disarming them, and providing us