Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Luke 4:1-13 (NRSV)
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”
Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,’ and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
Welcome to the first Sunday in Lent! Today, we find Jesus hanging out in the desert. Can you believe that this is the first thing that happens to Jesus after being baptized? There’s no party or joyous celebration. Nope.
Instead, Jesus goes out to the desert for 40 days, fasts and gets tempted by the devil. I’m just not sure God has a great sense of humor sometimes.
Yet while I am taken aback by this turn of events, I am also amazed at the willingness of Jesus to take on this challenge. He is serving as an example for all how we are to respond in faith to trials, trouble, temptation, and testing. Let’s be honest, if given a choice, we are going to avoid any difficulty we can. But, sometimes, our choices lead right into the line of fire and trouble awaits around the corner. Jesus entered the firing line willingly.
Some would say that the season of Lent is an open invitation to be intentional as we look at ourselves in light of our faith. We are called to follow the example of Jesus who was “led by the Spirit in the wilderness,” for forty days. So, during this season especially, we enter our own wilderness and seek to grow closer to God.
What I think we forget but need to remember, is that just as Jesus was led by the Spirit, so are we. And the Spirit didn’t just drop Jesus off and say, “See you in 40.” No, the Spirit remained with him, guiding him, enabling him to grow. Likewise, the Spirit abides with us, guiding us and enabling us to grow more faithfully. May we remember that we aren’t alone in the wilderness!
Almighty God, the season of Lent affords us an opportunity to enter the wilderness with your Son. As we do so, may we remember that your Spirit is with us and may we be quiet enough to listen for the still small voice that offers to guide us in our faith. Amen.
Go with God!