March 2021

A Lent reflection.

Some thoughts on the baptism and temptation of Jesus.

Luke 3, verses 21 - 22..
The focus now moves from John to Jesus with the briefest mention that Jesus had been baptised, by which he stands shoulder to shoulder  with men and women who have committed every conceivable evil act, and thus is “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53: 12)
Only then does the voice from Heaven proclaim, “You are My Son, on You My favour rests”, putting the divine stamp on the angel’s words to Mary, “He shall be called the Son of the most high”.

Verses 23 - 38.
There follows an abbreviated family tree. For “begat” or “son of”, read “a descendant of”, most importantly from David, Abraham and Adam, making Jesus not only the one promised by God to us in the OT, but also one of us. 
Luke has laid the foundations for the Nicene Creed - both human and divine.

Luke 4 verses 1 - 15
Having received a pat on the back from His Father in Heaven, and reassured that He really is His Son, Jesus needs to be briefed on the pitfalls ahead.
To find out, He went into the desert, after more than a month he is desperately hungry. Sitting there His eye fell on a stone that looked just like a small barley loaf, He could almost smell it; who would know?
We know His reply, “man does not live by bread alone”, quoting Deuteronomy 8: 3, which continues, “but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”

 

Rule 1 - He is not to use His powers for His own benefit. Even when faced with imminent death He prays, “if it is possible……………….yet not as I will but as You will” (Matthew 26: 39)
So following His example we should not pray to benefit ourselves - rather, “God be merciful to me a sinner”

 

Rule 2 - He is not to abandon His task and seek the praise of men and the glory of becoming king. That people tried to make Him King is recorded, and when before Pilate he is accused of wanting to be king, He replies, “My kingdom is not of this world”. So again, we should not seek high office, power or fortune for our own benefit; rather, “he who be first among you must be servant of all”.

 

Rule 3 - He is not to put Himself in harms way to amaze people by a miracle. He replies, “it has been said you shall not test the Lord your God”; neither should we.
When wishing for a particular outcome to a problem we cannot solve without God’s help, we should not pray, “if You do this for me, I will go to church, give money, give up gambling or whatever. 
So the devil leaves Him for an opportune time; it came on the cross, “If You are the King of the Jews save Yourself and us”. 
So we should not think that because we have repented and received forgiveness, we won’t be tested again.


Terry Connellan.