1st Sunday of Lent
Reading I: Dt 26:4-10 II: Rom 10:8-13
1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit
2 for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."
4 And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'"
5 And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,
6 and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.
7 If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours."
8 And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'"
9 And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here;
10 for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,'
11 and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
12 And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"
13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
- This account immediately follows the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. The spirit given Jesus at His baptism (3:22) does not lead Him into temptation, but is the sustaining power with Him during this time. As the baptism revealed His divinity, so the temptation story emphasizes His humanity.
- The wilderness/desert was believed to be the place of demons (Lk 8:29, Lk 11:24).
- (v.2) Jesus' forty days in the desert recalls the forty years of the wilderness wandering of the Israelites during the exodus (Dt 8:2). While the people of God's forty years are described as years of testing and failure (Acts 7:39-43), Jesus' forty days are those of testing, faithful and victory.
- (v.3) "stone to bread": Jesus is challenged to use His power for His own ends rather than to obey His Father.
- (v.4) "man shall not live by bread alone": Jesus' response to the devil is taken from Deut. 8:3. His responses in vv 8 and 12 are also from Deut. (6:13,16).
- "Son of God": Luke refers his readers back to Jesus' baptism, where God had declared, "You are my Son" (3:22). Jesus, God's Son, is faithful to His Father and does not fall during His testing as Israel, God's Son, had done.
- Jesus' testing in Jerusalem is the final and climatic one. It is in Jerusalem that the devil will return at "the opportune time". As Jesus is about to begin His public ministry, Luke directs our attention to Jerusalem, where Jesus again remains victorious and God's promises will be ultimately fulfilled.
- (vv.10-11) The devil tries to use Scripture (Ps 91:11-12) to offer Jesus to test His sonship against the promise of God to protect Him. Scripture is no more authorative than any other text if it is wrongly interpreted as in this case by the devil.
One Main Point
Jesus' victory over the devil. Luke presents Jesus precisely as the kind of person John the Baptizer predicted: the "more powerful one" (3:16)
- What have you found most helpful in Jesus' victory over temptation?
- If the Devil could identify your three greatest weaknesses, what would they be?
- In your prayer, be with Jesus, imagine His physical weakness and His strong determination to obey His Father's will.