|Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him… Luke 4:1-3a |
Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness is not generally a favorite Bible story for many, so I was surprised when our daughter (7 years old) requested that I read it from her children’s Bible two times in one sitting. Interestingly, I recall one of her brothers calling it his favorite story for a period of time.
So often when this passage is taught, the way it is portrayed is that Jesus goes out into the wilderness to pray and spend time with His Father. However, as I read it (in all three synoptic gospels) Jesus is, as Luke puts it, “led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” Rather than a forty day “time alone with God,” Jesus walked into temptation—forty days of it, and we only are told a snippet of what happened. I cannot even begin to imagine the depth of temptation that He faced.
Perhaps that is how Lent feels for you. Maybe it seems as though you came upon the Lenten season ready to take on whatever Lenten discipline you chose, and it has felt like temptation after temptation for you. Like Jesus, during this time, we need to cling to the Word of God.
When the devil tempted Jesus with the splendor and authority of all the Kingdoms of the world (v.5-7), Jesus did not tell the devil about the future. No. He pointed to history—what God had already made clear.
Jesus quoted Deuteronomy to the devil each time. May we, too, be so steeped in the Word of God that when temptations come, we can respond with the security and promises of God. Perhaps, we can also enjoy this story, like my children did, because Jesus wins!
Lord, please help me grow in my ability to recall Your word and let it permeate my life. Amen ~Becky Nwankwo
Rector, The Light of Christ Church