“Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”– Matthew 4:1
Jesus enters the wilderness for one purpose; to be tempted. What kind of Messiah do we have here? What manner of God will Jesus be? The tempter throws three gambits toward Jesus to selfish excess, abuse his power, and grab personal greatness and glory. Who will this Jesus be?
By refusing these temptations, Jesus provides a foreshadowing of his ministry as well as his passion. Instead of gathering bread like a glutton, he will feed thousands with a mere five loaves and two fish. In place of abusing power and his relationship with God, Jesus will deny the religious authorities who seek to test and trap him, and will not even take himself down from the cross. Opposing the lure of great political power, Jesus insists on things like loving enemies, says the first shall be last, and paints pictures of a very different Kingdom of God.
Jesus paves the way for our own Lenten journeys. Following the Way Jesus sets before us is not easy, and requires the manner of selfless love displayed in his wilderness experience. Part of the Lenten experience is to acknowledge our continued failures to do so. Thank God the Way is also filled with the love of a merciful God who always seeks to make us whole. – Pastor Kris
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