The Gospel of Luke 4:1-13
After his baptism, 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
Let us Pray: God of deliverance and freedom, you taught the people of Israel to acknowledge that all things come from your bountiful hand. Deepen our faith so that we may resist temptation and, in the midst of trial, proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, now and forever. Amen.
The last few days we have seen how the thought of great power encompasses a person’s thinking that they become so obsessed with it they are willing to commit great atrocities. As we read this gospel, we see that this global leader has fallen to the temptations of the devil. You wonder if the devil didn’t take him up the mountain and showed him all the kingdoms that could be his. He obviously succumbed to the devil as we see that he is trying to take for his own all the kingdoms and countries he can see. Where do we go from here? Do we fall into the devil’s trap, or do we listen to God? For our sake Jesus didn’t fall to the temptation of Satan. The 40 days he spent in the wilderness was a struggle, but His faith in God His Father, provided Him the strength to outlast the devil. In our struggles it seems like some of us are out in the wilderness on our own. How many have felt all alone in the wilderness. What did you do to find your way out? Finding ourselves alone in the proverbial wilderness can be frightening and rather devastating, exposing our weaknesses. What exposes our weaknesses in the short term can make us stronger in the long term when we confront them and address them. Our failures open for us the possibilities that our faith can grow if we allow our faith to guide us. Can you imagine how Jesus felt alone in the wilderness for 40 days. Challenged consistently by his adversary who kept tempting Him with offers I wonder if we could of resisted. As we encounter these same earthly temptations: such as having extraordinary abilities, influence, power, and wealth. Do we have the inner strength to refuse these temptations? The world typically applauds those individuals who have power, wealth or extraordinary abilities. Are we content to be satisfied with a normal life, not to be extraordinary? As we begin this Lenten season are we up to the challenges that face us each day. Challenges that seem to put us alone in the wilderness. Remember you are never alone. Would we able to resist the temptation to replace God with an idol. In human experience, the idolization of things brings an endless path of suffering and despair. Here again Jesus is emphatic. Only God can command our total loyalty. And our loyalty should never be to test God or cast doubt on God’s presence. . Instead, the Scriptures are reminders of God’s powerful presence with God’s people even in the wilderness.
So as you begin your Lenten Journey, work to make your journey one that will last not just through Lent, but through the rest of your life and take time to appreciate life and to understand your mortality on earth and look forward to everlasting life in Christ.
Let us Pray: Whatever wilderness the Spirit has brought you to: walk in boldness, as a beloved child of God walk in peace, under the shelter of the Most High walk in faith, knowing Christ walks with you. Amen.