Thursday, March 10, 2011

Matthew 4:1-11

After Jesus was baptized, he was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written,'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'"

Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'"

Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.


  1. I see the temptation of Jesus to be basically one. That is, will he live from the identity and calling he knows within himself or will he succumb to how others try to define him. He has just come up from his baptism, from choosing to step toward his destiny, and he has just received the affirmation of his Father. In these Jesus knows himself and has a sense of his calling. Now come the tests by the satan, challenges to shift from what he is in himself to something that is put on him by others. This test confronts me again and again, and it is only as I return to the affirmation of the Father and reclaim the destiny I already know that I remain myself, and true.

  2. Immediately after Jesus was baptized, immediately after he was unequivocally identified as the Beloved Son of God, Jesus was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness where his understanding of his relationship with God the Father was tested. In each of the three temptations the devil cajoled Jesus to exercise the power of God as if it was his singular prerogative. But Jesus was not duped.

    Being fully human and fully divine, Jesus understood that as he was claimed by God as God’s own Beloved Son, his need for nurture, security, power and control would be satisfied in and by his relationship with God the Father. And the nature of that relationship was to praise, reverence and serve God, in other words, to worship the Lord God.

    This makes me think of all the ways I am more presumptuous than Jesus! I get hungry for the comforts of life then act to fulfill them by myself. I hunger for power and love and then act out of my emptiness or lack rather than depend upon God’s abundant love for me. Even my seemingly well intended hunger to continue Jesus’ mission on earth too often leads me to depend upon my self rather than on the Lord God.

    Holy God, at every turn I receive the message that I am supposed to be independent, self-sufficient and autonomous. It seems the voices of contemporary society are shouting, “You must be sovereign.” Please send your Holy Spirit to accompany me in this wilderness, to give me the courage to be vulnerable and stake my life to You. In the name of Your Beloved Son I pray. Amen