God knew the troubles we were having with obedience. And desperately wanted us to know the delight of the garden. Enjoying both the presence and the work of God.
And so Jesus came as God in a body, still completely God, but also completely human. Because he is human, he understands, from the inside, fatigue and hunger and loneliness. He understood loss and fever and betrayal and desire.
When we read of his temptation in the wilderness, we are reading of real temptation, the kind we face, the kind that takes attentiveness and openness to God to survive.
How does Jesus respond to the offers of the enemy?
- To use his power to make bread,
- To jump from a tower, on one word that God protects,
- To make a simple act of worship in exchange for everything he could see.
When Jesus encountered the offers of the enemy, Jesus referred to the teachings of God, as Eve had. But Jesus was accurate. He knew what the words actually were.
And, more than just specifically accurate, Jesus responded with teachings that offered alternatives.
He didn’t just resist the bread, he offered a positive commitment–to be devoted to all the words that God has spoken. To eat those words like we would eat bread. To reflect on them, to chew on them, to get life from them. And as I think about it, I think that Jesus wasn’t just talking about what the Bible said.
He was describing the experience of the previous 40 days, when he had been feeding on the words of God. The way that he knew that man doesn’t live by bread alone but by every word God has said, was because he had lived by every word God said. Not focused on the one thing he had committed not to do, but on everything he had in front of him.
In the other temptations he also looked beyond his own glory and comfort and reputation to God’s.
Reflecting on the readings from the first Sunday in Lent: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19, and Matthew 4:1-11.