1st Sunday of Lent 17.3.13 Luke 4.1-13

9 02 2013

Testing Times

Lent is the time when we are invited to the wilderness with Jesus. Like him, will be tested.  But with him, we will not be defeated.

Luke 4.1-13

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’ 4Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.” ’

5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And the devil said to him, ‘To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.’ 8Jesus answered him, ‘It is written,
“Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.” ’

9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you”,
11and
“On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ’
12Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ’ 13When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Reflection

To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. What do you think the word ‘wilderness’ means or implies?
  2. What do you take the word ‘devil’ to mean?
  3. What is the meaning of the phrase ‘put God to the test’?

Heart Questions

  1. What places, or experiences, feel like wilderness to you?
  2. What does temptation typically feel like?
  3. Unlike the accounts in Mark and Matthew, no animals appear in Luke to minister to Jesus. Do you miss them? Why? (or why not?)

Hand Questions

  1. What are you taking on as a Lenten discipline?
  2. How are you going to make time for spiritual priorities between now and Easter?
  3. Is there a wilderness that you could or should visit during Lent?

Finally

These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you.  That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands.  Take your time.

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