‘…Do not put the Lord your God to the test…’
Gospel: Luke 4: 1-13
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4 Jesus answered him, “It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.’ “5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ “9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ 11 and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ “12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
After His Baptism, Jesus went into the desert for 40 days. He ate nothing and was hungry and thirsty. There, the devil tempted Jesus to turn away from God and worship him instead. Jesus refused each of the three temptations by quoting scripture from the book of Deuteronomy thus making clear his obedience to God.
Relating the Gospel to our lives today.
On Ash Wednesday we receive ashes on our foreheads signifying our mortality, our human sinful nature, and our dependence on Christ to take away that sin and to lead us to eternal life. It takes humility to be able to stand up and say ‘I am a sinner.’ The notion always reminds me of an Alcoholics’ Anonymous meeting where you have to stand up, say your name and admit your addiction, which is always received with a pat on the back and a round of applause! But perhaps this isn’t so far from the truth. Many people I know who struggle with their faith seem to have a problem with the idea of sin. One such person said to me “Look, I’m really not that bad! Hitler was much worse!” I agreed with her that by the world’s standards Hitler was much ‘worse’ than she was, but… are we to judge ourselves on the world’s standards, or on God’s standards? God is pure love, pure justice and pure truth. Is it really feasible that I can compare myself to these impeccable standards? Of course not! Should I feel guilty about this? Of course not! But what we must do is to accept our human condition. We are all sinners. We are all imperfect and we are all in need of redemption. We cannot take away our own sin. When we find the humility to come to this realization, it begins to dawn on us just how much we need Christ and His Cross.
Lent is a time of preparation. We have this time to properly prepare ourselves for our Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. It is a time of self-reflection and repentance. Many people choose to give up something for lent. But we must remember that fasting is useless unless done in conjunction with prayer. Over time I have come to the understanding that obedience to God’s will is the best form of fasting one can undertake. In this way I am fasting from having my own way, and instead trying my best to do things God’s way. I try to focus on one area of my personality where I know I need improvement. This year I have decided that I need to work on my patience and generosity, in my marriage and with my kids. (God help us all!)
- Am I a sinner?
- Is anybody perfect?
- Jesus takes away my sin by His death on the cross.
Thank you for dying on the cross for me. You take away my sin – something I cannot do for myself. I am reliant on You and on Your cross. I am so grateful for what you did for me. Help me to prepare well this lent.
Thank you, I love You Jesus, amen.