First Sunday in Lent
Gospel: Mark 1. 9-15
We have all had a taste of what it means to be in the wilderness in the past one year. Our wilderness was not out doors but indoors as we stayed indoors most of the time; detached from our friends and family members. We have had more time to think than speak or hear from others.
Jesus had a similar time as he was led by the Holy Spirit to a self-imposed lockdown. It was a tormenting experience for forty days and forty nights in the wilderness.
Those who had visited the Holy land would have visited the place where Jesus spent forty days and forty nights. It is such a desolate place. There is nothing to see or hear, there are no people to see, only the company of the wild animals.
Jesus spent his time in the wilderness among wild beasts but there were angels attending on him in that difficult situation. Matthew’s gospel tells us that Jesus was tormented and tempted by Satan. It was a time of decision making for Jesus. To make up his mind for the future.
Jesus had to undergo three temptations posed by Satan:
‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’
‘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.”’
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!
The temptations were aimed at destroying the identity of Jesus as the Son of God, to test God and live a life serving Satan and enjoy life.
Jesus in every temptation becomes more and more clear about his identity and purpose in life. The wilderness made Jesus strong and determined to do the things that he was meant to do.
We have begun lent and this is a time of reassessing who we are and what we should be doing. This is a time for us to become clear and change course if we are in a different path different from the path that God wants us to tread. May our forty days and forty nights of lent make us strong in faith and as the wilderness ended with a new beginning for Jesus, let us begin anew and afresh a new journey of faith.