Week 1 of Lent - Gospel Meditations and Prayers for Lent
Sunday February 17th, 2013
Sunday February 17th, 2013
"Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. There he was tempted for forty days by the devil."
Perhaps the devil heard what happened. Perhaps he, like the crowd at the river Jordan, heard a voice out of heaven saying ‘You are my son.’ Perhaps this is why the devil lies in wait in the wilderness. The devil has heard God saying that this one is his son, and he needs to test what this means.
The devil knew, just like the people in the crowds did, that being a son of God was special, but it was not unique.Others were called God’s son: Israel, Israel’s kings, Caesar Augustus. Once the devil realizes that the Spirit has led Jesus into the wilderness, the devil takes this opportunity to test what kind of a son of God Jesus is. The devil has been able to find the weak spots in the others. This helps him with his job of thwarting God’s purposes.
The devil waits until Jesus has not eaten for forty days and is starving. Then he says to Jesus, “since (the Greek for ‘if’ here means ‘since’) you are a son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus rebuffs him. The devil tests Jesus again. He shows him all the kingdoms that were or ever will be and promises Jesus authority over them all - if only Jesus would worship him. Again, Jesus rebuffs the devil, this time making it clear that he will only worship God. Jesus has been using scripture against him, so the devil decides to do the same. After taking Jesus to the highest point of the temple, the devil says, ‘since you are son of God throw yourself down, because scripture says that God will save you’. Jesus’ response is to quote another scripture: ‘you should not put God to the test’.
The devil’s tests of what kind of a son of God Jesus is, reveals that the fundamental feature of this son of God is that he is obedient, completely obedient to God. Son of God Jesus will not be turned from his absolute obedience to God.
As we walk with Jesus towards the cross in these forty days of Lent, may we become increasingly aware of the centrality and gift of his obedience. Apart from Jesus’ obedience as son of God, he would not have gone to the cross. Without Jesus’ obedience, neither we nor anyone would know the freedom that his cross gives.
Holy God, thank you for your Son Jesus Christ - the perfectly obedient one, whose cross opened the way for us to share in his obedience to you. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. L. Ann Jervis
Professor of New Testament and Advanced Degree Director at Wycliffe College. Ann's academic interests revolve around Paul and Paul's world. She has published three books and several articles on this topic and in the area of women in the early church. Ann is an ordained priest in the Diocese of Toronto and an honorary assistant at the Church of Redeemer.
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