Luke 4: 1 – 13 Jesus is tempted
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
As we know, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Jesus went out into the desert for his 40 day fast full of power and full of inspiration. And like any other human being also full of many other thoughts as well. You can see the rush of ego in these temptations! If it had been you in the desert perhaps throwing yourself off the temple so that the angels would catch you would have tempted you because you probably don’t have fantasies of being divine. But the expansive feeling of unbelievable success is a very real draw away from what Abba created us for, the loving purpose we each are uniquely called to fulfill.
Watch for what tempts you or when your pulse quickens at the thought of something that perhaps is forbidden and/or destructive. Then surrender it to God so that you might be free, for in that freedom is love, the very core of God’s gift to us. Our Abba knows what is best for us, and surrendering that which quickens our pulse is the safe and loyal move of a blessed child and we know that we will be led into all truth, all LOVE!
Noon Day Prayers Question
Imagine being asked to wish for whatever you wanted for yourself? What would that wish be? Truly, what would that wish be?
Sit with your loving Abba, with your loving Lord and consider the answer that arises from within you. Feel God’s love as you surrender your desire. Know that like any good parent your Abba loves giving you your heart’s desire, so long as this desire is good for you, is part of His plan for you.
Luke 4: 14 – 22a Jesus announces his calling in Nazareth
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.
The son of Nazareth has returned to his hometown to much acclaim. When he gets up to read in the Synagogue he reveals to them his sacred calling, fulfilling one of Isaiah’s prophesies. Clearly as the returning star, preaching on his calling, he is very well received! There is a hunger in Israel for the return to their days of glory, with their own king under God’s rule, and there is a natural hunger in any town and family for their children to do well. Jesus for the moment fulfills these hungers.
Being attracted to fulfilling other people’s desires is another of the temptations of being a follower of Jesus, of being filled with the Spirit. As a mother’s favourite son, as a rising star, these may well have been powerful distractions from the purpose for which Jesus was formed, a purpose confirmed in the calm and peace within as he walked the path laid out before him, one step at a time.
It is not just people’s negative opinions that can knock us off the path, but also their positive ones. The more we can hang onto Abba’s finger as we explore the world of the spirit-led, the more these currents will not be able to sweep us off our feet. Ask for wisdom to discern the pull of your own strong feelings, whether positive or negative, that you may grow in wisdom and grace this day and always.