Each year of the lectionary, when we arrive at the First Sunday in Lent, we hear the story of how Jesus was driven in the wilderness immediately following his baptism and was test by the Satan. The First Sunday in Epiphany we hear of his baptism, and then weeks later we hear of the temptation, but in truth, there’s no gap between the two as the Gospels present the story. The wilderness immediately follows the moment of beginning.
The experience of the wilderness can be understood as a time of taking the measure of who Jesus is, and should be heard in the larger context of the ongoing story of the Chosen People of God. God’s people passed through the waters of the Red Sea and became a nation formed in the wilderness. Jesus goes into the wilderness but has a very different experience – he does not rebel against God and he refuses to put God to the test.
You and I are maybe, at this point in our faith journey, somewhere between the two models. We may not fail the tests as often as we did when we set out, but we are no where near the example that Jesus gives us as he faces trials. But we aren’t where we were, and that’s something important for us to remember. Each year, as we come to our Lenten fast, we can remember what we have accomplished, and use that memory to encourage ourselves as we face the next test of our lives. By remembering, we can see how the Holy Spirit has been part of our life and what the work of the Spirit has accomplished in us. That memory gives us hope to face what comes next – if we take the time to remember…
The direct link to the video is found here.