Readings: Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13
Wednesday at camp this summer will be Living in Lent. The main text is John’s account of the crucifixion. Alternate texts include those for Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Here are the endings of each of those accounts:
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. (Matthew)
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. (Mark)
When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Luke)
The lesson for the First Sunday in Lent this year is the temptation in Matthew. Christians begin the journey with Jesus which concludes with the crucifixion and resurrection with a text that reminds us that Jesus experienced temptation just us we do. We remember also that somehow the Lord did not give in to those temptations.
Well, it is not Lent, but it is the beginning of another day for us—a journey. In the next hours we will be accompanied by the devil and Jesus. Matthew and Mark tell us that the angels waited on Jesus. He didn’t pass through those days without help. Just so, we too have help when Satan whispers in our ear—Jesus, the resurrected Christ who fights with us in our battles with the devil. Unlike Jesus, sometimes we will fail in our struggles against evil. Then Jesus walks with us to pick us up with forgiveness and encouragement.
And a last thought, Jesus was not done with the devil after those 40 days. Luke tells us that Satan waited for “an opportune time” to tempt Jesus more. Our struggle against evil is constant. It doesn’t end. The devil takes few breaks. Neither does Jesus.
I want Jesus to walk with me. In my trials, when I’m in trouble, all along my pilgrim journey, when my heart is almost breaking, when my head is bowed in sorrow, I want Jesus to walk with me.
--Jim Bricker, Camp Mount Luther Chaplain to the Summer Staff
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