Trying to think about life and how God makes it full

The Wilderness, Part 1, Luke 4:1-13


How many sermons have been preached on this passage? How many have I heard? I can’t remember whether I’ve preached on it myself…

The first thing about this passage that I thought of was, ‘How did Jesus know the difference between the voice of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the devil?’

He was full of the Holy Spirit after his baptism, and then was led by the same Spirit out into the wilderness. It must’ve felt great to be so full of the Spirit. He probably had a sense of excitement, and even triumph to have gone out into the wilderness and survived its rigours and desolation without eating. Undoubtedly, he would’ve experienced the euphoria that fasting produces in people, and would be feeling so very close to God.

The 40 days in the wilderness is symbolic of the 40 years Israel spent wandering in the wilderness after God liberated them from Egyptian captivity and slavery in Moses’ time. They were on their way to the Promised Land, to settle and live as God’s chosen people.

Jesus was a Jew of his context, and would well understand the history of his own people. The wanderings and trials in the wilderness would have a symbolism that would not be lost on him. Israel, as God’s people, were meant to be a living example to the world of how to live according to God’s ways, and indeed, to be a blessing to all other nations of the world.

The desert was also a place that was normal for ‘mystics’ and ‘spirit people’ to go; to be close to God, and to fight demons. It’s a very spiritual place. Being alone with God seems to also mean being vulnerable to attack from demons and the devil.

And so it is, that Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit is also tempted by the devil.

How did he know which was which?

Why did the devil begin his temptations with the question, “If you are the Son of God…”? Did Jesus not know who he was yet? Did he harbour a few lingering doubts? How would the Holy Spirit have spoken to him? Why did the devil choose the temptations he did?


February 12, 2007 - Posted by | contemplative, god, jesus, religion

1 Comment »

  1. Satan uses questions to attack your self-doubt or your pride. The Holy Spirit would have been positive, supportive, and loving and would only serve God. Jesus must have been weak and vulnerable and that is when the devil makes his move. In tempting the bread he challenges his physical needs and gives us a good example how to avoid its temptation;the second temptation was to test his power/faith, but Jesus knew scripture better than anyone and did not give in; in the third temptation I feel he tries to make Jesus make claim to the kingship early so he will abandon us (not die for our sins). This shows me how strong the Holy Spirit is in Jesus that during his lifetime as a human he never gave in to using his power for his own needs. Everything seems to have a purpose and what was written was more than we can comprehend but still fills like it is within reach so we don’t give up.

    Comment by J. Cioffi | March 1, 2007 | Reply

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