As Lent begins with Ash Wednesday tomorrow, I wanted to share with you a reflection on the meaning of Lent and how it ties in with the temptations of Jesus during his forty days and nights in the desert. Below you will see the video produced by Anglican Media Melbourne, as well as some study materials to aid you in further reflection. May you have a holy Lenten season.
Study material: some thoughts for conversation
Reflect on Deuteronomy 8:1-5. Moses recalls God’s testing of Israel during 40 years in the desert and laments Israel’s failure.
“‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’” Mt 4:3
Satan seems to have thought that Jesus could turn stones into bread! ‘Bread’ appears frequently during Jesus’ life: which occurrence of that holds particular meaning for you?
‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written:
‘“He will command his angels concerning you, …’” Mt 4:6
We are not to test God, or to seek special signs as Gideon did with the fleece. God’s revelation in Scripture is the foundation by which we find guidance, as Jesus told Satan. Twice in Matthew (12:39, 16:4), Jesus warns that “a wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign”.
‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Mt 4:9
What would it have meant for Jesus to have bowed down and worshipped Satan?
How might this have affected his life and ministry?
Jesus answers temptation with Scripture. Take a moment to reflect and pray before sharing where appropriate, an occasion when Scripture has assisted you to resist temptation.
You might like to reflect on the following comment:
“The temptations serve as a warning to humanity and Western culture in particular: if our natural propensities to put our apparent physical needs before our spiritual ones, to accumulate power and wealth, and to worship ourselves as gods are not held in check, then our true humanity will be lost. Unfortunately we are seeing the consequences of such unchecked natural propensities in so many troubling aspects of life today.”
Australian scholar, Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, IVP, England 1992, states,
“The temptations proceed from the fact that he (Jesus), is the Son of God, and that accordingly, he must live as the Son of God.”
Christians are children of God and accordingly we must live as children of God. Share an encouragement that you have received to live as a child of God.