Bountiful Spirit - February 24, 2021
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “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.” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Reflection by Tyler Hillman
Oh, the ever-present “if”! How many times have we heard this in some form or another, in our own lives or the lives of those we know? “If you really loved me, you would…” “If all the cards weren’t stacked against me, I could…” “If only everybody would just see things my way, then…” I particularly like this translation’s use of “the tempter” for the devil; he doesn’t coerce or force but tries to tempt a hungry and exhausted Jesus to abandon his Father just as he tempts us in our weakest moments. For the devil everything is a transaction, while in Jesus everything is freely given. When the devil requires a show of power for bread, Jesus offers His body as bread for us all. When the devil requires Jesus to throw himself down, Jesus promises each of us a room in God’s heaven. When the devil requires Jesus to bow down and worship him, Jesus bows down and washes the feet of his disciples. So the next time you hear the tempter whispering in your ear, be sure to tell him you are sure in the promise Jesus made for all of us – no ifs, ands, or buts about it.