(Click the verse above to see the entire reading)
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted by the devil.”
“What We Really Need”
Yesterday, during our kid’s time, the kids were asked if they knew even Jesus had been tempted before. And one of the little gals in front of me just looked up and said – “WHAT?!”
It was awesome.
Most of us have heard the story of the Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness.
It’s in three of the four Gospel accounts so it’s hard to miss.
Sometimes there’s a risk in thinking that temptations are tests that we pass and then we get to move along the rest of our lives scot free. But that’s not how it works.
That’s not real life for us, and not for Jesus either.
These three temptations are not a test, but preparations for the kinds of things we are going to face in the real world.
Jesus’ three temptations are important because we experience them every day as followers of Christ.
We are tempted to doubt the promises God has made to us, to think maybe we aren’t really a child of God, or that somehow we are unworthy of the love of God.
We are tempted to test God’s love, or to think we somehow deserve good things because we believe in God.
And we are tempted to take shortcuts and cheat the system in order to get to the top, often at the expense of others.
And we cave. A lot.
But God doesn’t.
Not in today’s Gospel, and not in our daily lives either.
God does not retract his blessings.
God does not take back his promises.
They are ours.
Even when we fall short (which we always do).
So this Lent – we begin with a story of temptation so that we can recognize how we have failed, so we can ask for forgiveness, and rise again to new life. That’s what it’s about.
Pause and Reflect.
So let’s pause this Lent, and reflect on the ways we fall short, and then on Easter we’ll rise again.
Questions to ponder:
This Lent (from now until April 14) take time each day and reflect on the ways you fall short. It’s not easy. At all. But in seeing what things are taking away life, we are able to more fully celebrate the resurrection with Christ on Easter. Try it.
Pr. Natalia Terfa