Matthew 4:1-11 – The First Sunday of Lent – for Sunday, March 5, 2017
â€œThen the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him . . .â€ (Matthew 4:1)
Do I believe there is evil?
How do I understand Jesusâ€™ encounter with â€œthe tempterâ€ in the fourth chapter of Matthew? There, after forty days and nights in the wildernessâ€”where Jesus fasted and prayed, and inevitably was â€œstarvingâ€â€”the devil appeared and tempted him. Like God and Satan testing Job or Danteâ€™s Divine Comedy depicting a journey through the nine circles of Hell, I donâ€™t read it as an actual, factual event.
And yet I believe Jesusâ€™ devilish confrontation revealed a truthâ€”as the best stories doâ€”and that every verse and, in particular, each of the three temptations, were very, very real.
They were for Jesus.
They are for you.
They are for me.
Do I hunger to serve the word and way of God? Or do I just want my belly full? What hunger tempts me? Sex? Money? Property?
Is my relationship with the Holy (and fellow humans) defined by manipulation, by bargaining, by comparing, by â€œtestingâ€ God?
Who or what do I truly worship? Continue reading →