First Sunday in Lent February 14, 2016
Jesus, the one we can trust
Lent, the season to prepare to draw nearer to Christ, begins with this familiar story: “Jesus . . . was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where . . . he was tempted by the devil.” Can we hear this again, with fresh ears?
Spirit-led, yet tempted, by no less than a Scripture-quoting Satan! So much for thinking that being led by the Spirit will make for a peril-free journey for anyone! And what temptation is offered?
To One who is starving: Bread
For One who understands his purpose is to make an eternal difference: Authority
To One about to begin his ministry and mission: Proof of God’s favor and Denial of his own vulnerability
Now none of the things with which Jesus is tempted is bad, in and of itself. Having enough to eat, being comfortable with personal authority, and wanting evidence of God’s favor are reasonably good things. But Jesus rejects all that Satan offers him, because it is Satan who offers. For Jesus, the cost is too high.
Instead, he becomes for us
Proof of God’s favor and Guarantor of our salvation.
The Christ we are invited to follow more closely in this season is willing to be vulnerable and unpopular. He is willing to be hungry in order to bring us to himself. Jesus is the one we can trust to understand and help us in our own hungers and temptations.
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:7b–8).
Beloved, be welcomed into the holiness of Lent.
Vicki Jens-Page, pastor, Morongo Moravian Church, Banning, California