Scripture Readings: Deuteronomy 26.4-10; Romans 10.8-13; Luke 4.1-13
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for 40 days, where he was tempted by the devil. During that time Jesus ate nothing, and by the end he was hungry. – Luke 4.1-2
In their theological duel Jesus and his tempter express very different interpretations of the role and mission of the messiah. Jesus refuses to be a messiah magician who turns stones to bread. Jesus recognizes that our relationships with others and with God nourish us as surely as food does. Jesus nourishes us, ultimately, by pouring out his love and life for us in meals, miracles, and the cross.
By which of God’s words do you live?
The devil’s second temptation envisions Jesus as the world ruler many people expected the messiah to be. Instead, Jesus chose to live Israel’s first and greatest commandment–to worship God alone (Deuteronomy 6.13). Jesus chose not to worship power or plenty but to come among us to serve the least. Too easily we become cynical spectators in a world gone awry instead of creative participants whose love for others and work for justice join in making Earth a global neighborhood.
What change does serving God alone ask of you this Lent?
Third, the devil mocks the poetry of Psalm 91.11-12, which describes God as protective, bearing up the faithful person to protect him or her from stumbling upon a stone. The devil mocks God’s intimate caring for Israel and for Jesus, God’s Son. God Almighty is an image that leads to unbelief for many. Reasoning goes if God is all-powerful, why doesn’t God use the power to end war or violence or suffering. People taunted Jesus on the cross with the same jibes.
What tests your faith in God?
Solitude in a beautiful place restores one’s connectedness with God as Creator and with the Spirit in whom we live and move and have our being. The wilderness is about integrating the self, restoring the heart to awe and praise, sighting again on the horizon one’s own deepest purpose in life.
What experiences of solitude have restored you to awe, praise, and purpose?