Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
We have now begun this journey in the wilderness of our faith, in the desert, in the high places above the city. We are tasked with wandering for these 40 days and nights, sent to stare at our temptations and our tempters. After all, the bulk of the chapter describes Jesus’s encounter with embodied temptation, the lure of sin, the sweet deceptive siren call of the enemy.
But let’s not miss the importance of verses 1 and 2 – “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.” Let’s consider the geography of grace during this Lenten season, paying attention to where we encounter God on a daily basis. We start that journey here in the desert wilderness, famished. Where are your deserts? Where is your wilderness?
The wilderness can offer amazing scenery, but for all its beauty, there are always dangers. Jesus doesn’t face the temptations of the enemy on the first day. He spends a season preparing himself for the task. He wanders in the wilderness, in the presence of the Spirit, and faces the daily risks of life around him. What preparation do you need to do this Lenten season? What are the temptations? What risks and what temptations does it put in front of you? And what grace do you find there that sustains your soul and invites you to grow in spirit and wisdom?