Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ’ Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ’ Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ’ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” ’ Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
This weekend is Saturday the 29 February and Sunday the 1 March, beginning the First week of Lent.
One Hope Project sings, ‘My Soul Rests’. Become aware of how you are feeling as you begin your time of prayer today… Perhaps you feel a bit weary yourself, even now as you’re trying to pray – not in the mood – too busy, too preoccupied, too tired. But if that is how you find yourself right now, just acknowledge that feeling, and present yourself, nonetheless, to God, just as you are. And God will listen to you, and accept you, just as you are.
Once more, we are not simply spectators in this extraordinary drama. We, too, are tempted to do the right things in the wrong way, or for the wrong reason. Part of the discipline of Lent is about learning to recognise the ﬂickering impulses, the whispering voices, for what they are, and to have the scripture-fuelled courage to resist. We, too, are part of the ongoing battle for heaven’s rule to be established on earth. Every successful ﬁght against temptation is one more step on the road to the ultimate victory. This weekend’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.
There are so many voices continually fighting for our attention, so many temptations in our fast moving ever changing world, do I always recognise the tempters voice amongst all the others?
What are the things I find it hardest to resist? How might I overcome these temptations during this time of lent, no matter how big or small?
As you hear Matthew’s gospel read again, notice how clear it is, particularly at the very end, that Jesus as ‘king of the Jews’ is to become the true lord of the whole world. But the path by which he moves to that lordship is not the satanic one which would make him grab it for his own ends.
Lord Jesus, as you saw through the temptations and refused them, give us wisdom to recognise the tempter’s voice, and strength to resist.