Matthew 4: 1-11
What today’s passage tells us clearly about is Jesus did not wander into the wilderness by mistake, after all. Jesus was led there by the Spirit, who delivered him to the devil for his forty-day test. Actually, the exam came at the end of those forty days, when Jesus was famished.
Maybe, our imagination is not enough what would happen while Jesus sat in the desert alone, but I invite us to imagine, in order to discover our own quiet, lonely, and vulnerable places and times.
Have we ever been hungry like that? I mean physically as well as metaphorically. Have we ever felt the devil nipping at our heels?
If we have, then we may know something about the wilderness, and I bet one of the things we know is how much we can be curious about where God is in that wilderness while we have been wandering there for a while.
In today’s passage, isn’t it curious about why God did not send the twelve legions of angels to rescue Jesus in the wilderness, or at least send Manna as God did for the Israelites? Why did God not give Jesus the power to roar so loud at the devil that the devil runs away?
Listen to how the devil began two of his three tests—“If you are the son of God,,,” The devil dared Jesus to prove who he was by acting like a god instead of a man.
My challenge and question for each of us in the passage is this: Isn’t it true that we often act like the devil in today’s passage to keep tempting, testing, and asking Jesus to prove his identity, who he is, by giving us something or by seizing something better for ourselves?
However, the passage is the story in which Jesus proves who he is not by seizing power, but by turning it down.
What does “son of God “really mean for us? A son of God was not someone who was related to God by rising out of his humanity but was someone who was beloved by God for sinking into it even when he was famished, tested, tempted, and killed on the cross.
There are plenty of times the devil often whispers into our ears saying things like, “If you are a child of God; if you are a Christian, shouldn’t things be going a little smoother and better for you? Shouldn’t you be happier, healthier, richer, and safer?”
We know what to say back to these temptations. “Away with you, Satan! We would rather be a hungry child of God than a well-fed player on your team. “Get behind us. Satan.” Then, we might hear the voice of God again in the wilderness, “This is my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased.”
Thanks be to God.