Wednesday, February 20, 2013

First Sunday in Lent, 2013 – Luke 4:1-13

"He departed from him until an opportune time. "
What a strange line.
We assume Luke meant the Garden of Gethsemane;
But we only have the story's bare bones, after all.
What if the devil chose other times that we just don't know about?
"Opportunity knocks," we say;
And maybe the devil does, too.
As maybe he did for Jesus.
But, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock," John writes later.
So when I hear it, I say, "Who's that knocking at my door?
"Is it the devil - or the Lord?"
Maybe Luke knew it's never an easy question,
Even for Jesus.
Certainly not for me.
Probably, I daresay, not for you.
Lenten Christians recognize this -
Thus, we have our seasonal temptations;
But not whether or not to eat that piece of chocolate,
Rather, whether or not to think we know it all.
So we go to the door.
And the only way to know if it's Jesus
Is if the choices offered aren't easy.
So he keeps reminding us,
Year after year (if we read between the lines), that
"Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth."

Scott L. Barton
February, 2013

Luke 4:1-13

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

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