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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, March 6, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Luke 4:113

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 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. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 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. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”

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, for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,’

and

‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. (NRSV)

Reflection
Contemplating this text, two things stand out to me. First, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit. It also says that Jesus is full of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is in Jesus and the Holy Spirit leads him into the wilderness. This is the Holy Spirit that descended on Jesus at his baptism.

The second thing that stands out is that Jesus is tempted three times by the devil. One commentary I studied suggested than the word temptation has many connotations, often referring to our desire for things that bring pleasure. We tend to conflate that with the tradition of giving up pleasures during Lent (it more accurately relates to Jesus fasting for forty days). It may be more helpful to read this as Jesus being tested by the devil.

Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. He endures three tests that are presented to him by the devil, and the Son of God passes the tests. Even though he passes (is without sin), Jesus knows what it feels like to be tested.

Through our own baptism, we are called into relationship with God, to be obedient to God and to serve God alone. And yet, all through life, that relationship is tested. We have many times where we find ourselves in the “wilderness,” and we know we don’t always pass the test.

However, we also know that God gives us grace through Jesus Christ, and we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus also knew what it was like to have his baptism tested.

Prayer
Dear God, help us to remember our baptisms and the relationship with you into which we are called. Forgive us when we fail to pass the test. Thank you for the redeeming grace you give us through your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Written by Anthony Hipp, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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