Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

First Sunday of Lent

Jesus Tempted.jpg

Luke 4:1-13

“Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness”

When Jesus was baptised by John the Holy Spirit descended upon him and the voice from heaven declared “You are my son, the Beloved”. Following this event Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert where he spent forty days, a time of prayer and fasting in preparation for his mission, a time also during which he was tempted. Here in the isolation of the desert he came face to face with the reality of his mission of proclaiming the kingdom of God in a hostile world. His temptations related to the mission that lay ahead, in brief to present himself as a miracle-working, crowd enthralling, powerful leader whom people would readily accept.

People would be ready to follow a Messiah who would provide them with a comfortable existence, and providing for their every need, symbolised by changing stones into bread. But Jesus rejected this. They would certainly gather around someone who would restore Israel’s political leadership over the surrounding nations, as in the second temptation. But Jesus refused to be a political Messiah. Finally, a spectacular display of heavenly support, the notion behind the third temptation, would quickly attract the masses to his cause. But again Jesus rejected this approach. He would instead announce the coming of God’s Kingdom with a universal call to repentance.

Forty days, a time of temptation for Jesus, but a time also to entrust himself totally to his Father’s care. This time of temptation was for Jesus the first part of a journey that would lead eventually to the cross – and beyond the cross to the glory of resurrection. He does not rely on human power and persuasion to gain the attraction and allegiance of the crowds. No, for him the way, the only Way, is total trust in absolute fidelity to God – even when that will take him through the sufferings of rejection, passion and death.