Sacred Spaces 326 – Jesus in the Desert (Have a good Lenten journey)
21 February 2012
Hey all; thanks for taking part and (hopefully learning) something from this journey: Looking at Jesus. I strategically ended in the beginning of Jesus ministry and in time for the approach to Easter: Lent. We meet up with Jesus in His literal desert experience… and as we approach our “metaphorical desert” (LENT), I will be giving up FACEBOOK and BLOGGING (Sacred Spaces and Where thoughts fall into pictures and pieces) to simply hear Him. I find I have been selfish, distracted and unfocussed lately and am very excited for this Christian discipline of giving up something in order to gain more of Him.
Happy Lenten journey to you
Last topic of the series “Looking at Jesus” we find ourselves standing with sand between our toes in the scorching heat:
Matthew 4 – Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “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.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
In looking through the gospels and witnessing the life of Jesus we see all the incredible miracles, healings and things He taught and how He just gave His love away, setting people free.
Yet all that began in a ‘SILENCE’, in a desert.
Before He began His public ministry and being bombarded each day with the demands of people, He went away to be disciplined and focused and strengthen in a desert.
Can you imagine a FAST for 40 days in the scorching desert?
Why was it necessary for Jesus? And why would such a thing be necessary for us?
For Jesus: He became “Like us” – fully human (yet also fully God).
He had to learn discipline and utter reliance on God.
How did that reliance of God, come about?
Through LISTENING and KNOWING the WORD of God.
See how Jesus “took on the temptation” of the devil with KNOWING scripture.
He found strength in the WORD of life.
WE too can have that strength.
We learn from this passage:
i) That the devil is real (how foolish are people to do disbelieve the reality of the devil.)
ii) That God is about our “character development too”
iii) NOTE: God was with Jesus all the time, yet only at the end of that time with the devil did the angels come and tend to Jesus.
Was God absent? NO!!
He was present YET He is about character development. Jesus in the desert, in that time of FASTING became strong in His Spirit.
For the next 3 years of His life He would go up against severe OPPOSITION
And so too; with us facing LENT (tomorrow till Easter) we go into a METAPHORICAL desert.
What will become of that time?
(How could a FAST be useful to you?)
i) Character Development – God wants to strengthen you as His disciple
ii) Knowing the Word – God wants to reveal and teach you new things from Scripture.
iii) Reliance on God – God wants you to rely on Him
iv) Listening – in that place away from distractions God wants you to LISTEN.
(The idea of LENT is for one to FOCUS on God. So whenever you “crave” what you have “given up” you use that craving sense as a reminder to focus and pray to God.)
Knowing that leaves me with this heart-warming thought (well, my heart warms at least).
Yes, the desert was scorching.
YET in those 40 days, how QUIET must it have been.
(The devil wasn’t around all the time)
Oh how we all NEED some QUIET.
To get rid of DISTRACTIONS
And just HEAR Him.
I pray this LENT, that both you and I, would HEAR Him more and draw a whole lot closer.
Jesus, I am stepping into the desert, meet me there please.
Among the sand and shine
Things are stripped away
In this silence let me hear You
Keep me from the mirages
And fill my soul to overflowing
With your Water of Life