Sunday 06 March 2022

Bible Book:

Jesus, full of the holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the spirit in the wilderness. (v. 1)

Luke 4:1-13 Sunday 6 March 2022

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16


Lent takes us on a journey into the wilderness where there is a variety of temptations.  The wilderness is an arid and unfathomable setting.  It is also a place for spiritual growth and a meeting place with God, the work of the Spirit, self and others. Immediately after being affirmed in baptism, Jesus the beloved son of God, is led by the Spirit into the wilderness. I wonder why the Spirit led the 'beloved son' (Luke 3:22) into the desert where he encounters the devil?

The text for today records temptations that Jesus encounters at the end of 40 days' fasting. The devil presents temptations intended to target the heart of Jesus’ identity. The devil offers a narrative of self-indulgence, self-glorification and self-serving religious identity.

The devil begins by calling into question Jesus’ identity as the Son of God by saying “If you are the Son of God” twice in verses 3 and 9. He challenges Jesus to prove this identity with some miraculous spectacles such as turning stones into bread, and a theatrical divine rescue from death. However, Jesus’ identity had already been affirmed as 'the beloved son' of God, and the one who would bring salvation to his people. It is worth remembering that in families at this time, an adult son was often understood as the father’s representative and the father and the son would work together to accomplish the family goals. The son’s identity, honour and status are rooted in his family’s honour and status. Jesus does not need to gain these things by giving in to the devil’s temptations. Jesus is tempted by the devil to demonstrate his identity in self-serving ways. This would have undermined Jesus’ identity and portrayed him as a son who relies on the material gifts of the Father.

Jesus knew his identity and that he was empowered by the Holy Spirit, he knew his relationship with the Spirit, and he knew that he was anointed by the Holy Spirit. It is interesting that the devil quoted scriptures as he tempted Jesus. What we see in Jesus is his awareness of the work of the Holy Spirit working within him, his relationship with his father and that he is the beloved son of God.

In our world of fake news, the reading reminds us of the benefits of knowing the Christian story in order to challenge the false narratives that seek to rob God’s people of life in its abundance. Jesus’ response to the devil points to the fact that human ability to repent or to resist temptation flows from a relationship with God and the work of the Holy Spirit, rather than from human strength and ingenuity.

To Ponder:

How are we tempted to:

  • deny God’s providence (systemic poverty)?
  • to rely on power and privilege (structural racism)?
  • to worship things other than God (congregational vitality)?
Previous Page Saturday 19 March 2022
Next Page Monday 07 March 2022