We are now well into Lent. Over a period of forty days, we look ahead to Good Friday, the day when Jesus was crucified.
Why forty days? The Gospel writers Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us that before embarking on his public ministry, Jesus spent forty days in preparation during which he was tempted to take the easy way out. In the words of the Gospel story, he was taken up to a high mountain and tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread, there being no other food; he was then offered ‘all the kingdoms of the world’ if he worshipped the devil; after this he was challenged to prove God’s power by jumping from the pinnacle of the temple, causing the angels of God to save him from falling. You can find one version of the story in St Luke’s Gospel, by entering Luke 4:1-13 in the website http://bible.oremus.org/ Whatever we think of the practicalities of all this, it is clear that the gospel writers believed Christ, the Son of God but also fully human, had to face the reality of temptation. His calling was not to make life easy for himself but to accept the way of self-sacrifice and humility, the signs of God’s love for all people.
Here is a short prayer for this week:
Lord Jesus, we remember you were tempted as we are, but stayed on the path of God’s love. Help us to do the same when we feel challenged. Amen.