Luke 4: 1-13
In today’s passage, Jesus was in the wilderness, accompanied only by the wild animals, but otherwise all alone.
For the people of Israel in Jesus’s context, wilderness was a complicated place. It was both a place of encounter with God and a place of testing, of punishment, and of danger. It was in the wilderness that God met them in the midst of cloud and fire. And it was in the wilderness that God’s law was revealed.
Yet, it was also in the wilderness that Israelites wandered for 40 years, and they hungered and thirsted. It was in the wilderness that they were tested against the temptations of power and comfort and worshiped a golden calf instead of the God who had rescued them from Egypt. Here in the wilderness, Jesus faced that testing again.
Through the wilderness tests, again and again, Jesus chose the path of humble obedience. This is the path of trust in God over the security of meeting the world’s expectations.
But even more than that, this story challenges us to find where our wilderness is; what our pacifiers may look like; and whether we are willing to take the hard path of humility as Jesus did.
Lent is a time when we walk humbly with our God, in the sense of trusting and depending more on God. As we enter our own wilderness, I invite us to recognize what kinds of pacifiers we may hold.
Think of our own pacifiers from a very little thing to a thing that becomes a part of our life. Without those things, we may be exposed, like someone addicted to painkillers whose prescription has just run out.
It is hard. It is awful. But it is essential and necessary for us, especially for this Lenten season, to encounter the world without anesthesia, and to find out what our life is like with no comfort, but only God.
Lent has begun. And our journey has begun.
It is the time for forty days to walk closer with God.
It is the time for forty days to walk humbly with our God.
It is the time for forty days to trust in God in the wilderness.
It is the time for forty days to reflect, to repent, and to reorient our lives to doing the will of God.
For forty days, expect great things, from God and from ourselves. Believe that everything is possible in God and with God.
Thanks be to God.