Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota Environmental Stewardship Commission Lectionary Reflection Year C, Lent 1, Gospel Lesson
Luke 4:1-13 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.

Reflection on Luke 4:1-13 by Nan Stokes

It is easy to remember times when there has been a "mountain-top experience" followed by a hard time when the temptations of our world seem so present, surrounding us on every side, and so blatant that we recognize them at once as "temptations." Does that make it easier to resist? Jesus answered the devil's tempting offers by quoting from Deuteronomy, and the explicit instructions concerning the LORD your God in the Old Testament lesson are examples of Deuteronomy's clarity and guidance. Having scripture quotations committed to memory and at your fingertips is to be prepared for whatever the devil has in store for you. How appropriate that Jesus went from the cool green of the Jordan River environs into the barren heat of the desert where there was no place to hide from his tempter. Ancient people believed that evil spirits went to dwell in the desert and they were afraid to tread where the winds and the wild beasts howled. Now many religious persons believe that time alone in the desert is necessary to focus on what is important, and the loneliness of the desert experience makes that focus possible. As Lent be ins for us in 1998, we can look to Jesus and his temptation experience to help us see how we can resist the temptations that come upon us, even when we aren't in the desert. We are blessed to have Jesus as our example.

Nan Stokes resides in Duluth and is a member of St. Edward's Episcopal Church. She originally wrote this reflection in 1998. She and we welcome your comments.

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