Sunday

10 March 2019

Luke 4:1-13

He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. (v. 2)

Psalm: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16

Background

As we begin the season of Lent we follow Jesus again into the wilderness with this familiar temptation story. During this season, we will see that Jesus is for others outside the ‘norms’ of society: sinners, tax collectors, outcasts and demon possessed alike! We will also see that the human Jesus comes with the heavenly authority over human and earthly constructs and ideas. Today, we meet the human Jesus wrestling with human desires.

In today’s passage there are echoes of two Old Testament stories: ‘the fall’ in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) and the Israelites’ wandering through the wilderness. In the first, the serpent whispers lies about God’s nature (Genesis 3:4), just as the devil whispers lies to Jesus. In the second, the people are brought through the waters of the Red Sea and declared as God’s children, (cf. Jesus’ Baptism in Luke 3); they are led into the wilderness (Exodus 15:22/Luke 4: 1), they grumble about being hungry (Exodus 16:1-3/Luke 4:4), they worship idols (Exodus 32/Luke 4:8), and constantly test God’s reserve (cf. Luke 4:12).

In this wilderness Jesus uses passages from the Israelites’ wilderness years to refute the devil’s lies and to acknowledge God’s sovereignty. The devil offers temptations linked to Jesus’ humanity (food, wealth, power). Jesus responds from his spiritual depths. Before he can engage in his public ministry, Jesus has to endure this private testing and prove to himself that he has the spiritual resolve to carry out his ministry.

 

To Ponder:

  • From where do you draw your spiritual resolve when faced with temptations?
  • How will you mark the season of Lent this year?

Bible notes author

Revd Ian Worsfold

Ian is coordinating chaplain at City, University of London and Chaplaincy Coordinator for the London District of the Methodist Church. He co-leads the worship for the annual Methodist Conference and chairs the Singing the Faith Plus Reference group that oversees the supporting website. He enjoys musical theatre, good food, wine and good company.

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