“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” —Matthew 4:1 (NRSVA)
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:8 (NIV)
Bible Reading: Matthew 4:1-11
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is also 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. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”
—Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)
Jesus has loved us humans since the very beginning. The reading from Ash Wednesday in John 1, we read that he was in the beginning, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5) Jesus is the light!
God has never wavered in his love for us throughout the many times humans have sinned, strayed and forgot who God is. The Bible gives us stories covering all generations with examples of our weaknesses. God’s love remained! Here’s a few examples to ponder and even read about:
• Adam and Eve
• Cain and Abel
• Abraham and Sarah
• Jacob and Esau
• Joseph and his brothers
• Moses and Joshua
• David and Solomon
• Isaiah and Jeremiah
• Kings and Priests
None of these examples lead to a perfect relationship with God. As humans, we are imperfect but that should not deter us from trying. Jesus, chose to be born human with all the frailties of the body that you and I also inhabit with one very important difference, Jesus did so without sin, he was perfect. He loved his Father and trusted him completely. He lived his life as a model for us to follow, always seeking the will of the Father, our creator and the one who loves us unconditionally.
In today’s Bible reading we read about Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, that included fasting and praying; and the devil tempting Jesus in a weakened state both physically and emotionally from fasting as well as the dry desert heat during the day and the bitter cold at night. Jesus trusted God, the Father for all his needs. Have you ever wondered about the fact that Lent is forty days, just as Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness? Did you know that Moses too fasted for forty days before receiving the law or that Elijah spent 40 days journeying to the mountain of God before encountering God in a whisper. And, let us also remember the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness by the children of Israel, the Israelites.
It was Jesus who perfectly fulfilled the Father’s purpose for the wilderness testing, and Jesus did it all for LOVE and with LOVE.
As we begin our collective and individual forty-day wilderness experience… some questions (?).
What are your expectations of God?
What are you expectations of yourself?
What of your experience?
Friends ~. May the peace of God surround you, comfort you and calm you. ~Amen
~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.
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