February 12th, 2016 by Christopher Caudle
“We have not loved God with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.”
With the wreckage of these missed marks before us, the confession leads us to make a turn, a course correction, and go in a new direction. “We are truly sorry, and we humbly repent.”
The scriptures this Sunday ask us to consider what we will do now. What comes after the confession that our internal GPS failed us, and that we have failed God and those around us?
For Moses and the children of Israel on the brink of the Promised Land, with the grumbling and failure of the 40 desert years behind them, it is a question of how their future abundance will be named and shared. Will the newly prosperous remember their merciful beginnings and share, or not?
For Paul and the Christians in Rome, it is the question of how the good news of a Jewish Messiah gets translated into the language and experience of Gentiles who were once God’s enemies, and kept at arms length in the days prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
For Luke, it is the record of Jesus being sent into the desert.
Odd isn’t it, that in the case of Israel in Deuteronomy 26 and the Church in Romans 10, God responds to their earlier failure with the plans they need for a new start, with provision for those already present and for those yet to arrive.
In contrast, God directs His Son from a moment of affirmation into a time ripe with risk and deprivation.
Seems backwards in a way. Or perhaps God is unwinding something that has become stuck on the spoke of history and in our hearts. Temptation often causes things to seem backwards, where our strongest desires are not aligned with what we have been given or granted as choices. Maybe the disorientation in this story is ours.
This Sunday we will take a look at temptations, and how Jesus saves us both from them and in them.
This video is one artist’s depiction of Jesus’ 40 days of temptation, and they highlight aspects of his trial that are easy to pass over. The artist includes some echoes of later teaching by Jesus as well as some later events in Jesus’ life as the still frames pass by.
As you watch the short clip, picture yourself there with Jesus, and ask yourself how you might have fared? Which day would have been especially tough?
The Lord’s Prayer petitions God to not lead up into temptation, but instead to deliver us from the Evil One or from the evil day. It is no surprise that Jesus was known throughout His ministry as one who taught with authority. His experience had led him to know both the Evil One and the day of evil, and His success there in the wilderness, while certain, was not without struggle and stress.
See how the success of Jesus in temptation is good news for those of us who make our confession week by week. Adopt his gift for a new start and be empowered now, even in the desert.
See you Sunday,