The Temptation of Jesus
Reflection on the Gospel
of the First Sunday Of Lent
Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and then the Spirit leads him to the desert for testing. Each one of us find ourselves asking this question every time after a recharged Spirit filled Retreat; Why does getting back into the world seem to be the biggest challenge? because of the testing that awaits.
In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds us that our capacity to repent and to resist temptation comes from our relationship with God and the grace of his deliverance rather than from our own strength and initiative.
The temptations that the devil presents are aimed at the heart of Jesus’ identity. But it also offers a storyline of self-indulgence for the flesh (make yourself bread from stones), power (all the nations of the world will belong to you if you worship me), and doubting the care and providence of God as our father (if you are the son of God cast yourself from the top of the temple).
In response to temptation, Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy, but it is not enough to know Scripture. The devil, who quotes from Psalm 91, also knows Scripture. Scripture must be read rightly in light of God’s nature and the life envisioned for God’s people. Such a life is rooted in God’s narrative of deliverance and a response of faithful obedience to God rather than in self-reliance, which is the devil’s story.