The Holy Gospel: February 17, 2013 (Year C)

Read:  Luke 4:1-13

Meditation:  “Confronting the Confrontation”

I am not anything close to an expert in the Lectionary.  But I have to admit that the recent readings seem to me to be “skipping around.”  We were in Luke 4 a few weeks ago, and now we’re back again—but only for this week.

I’m sure it has to do with the fact that this is the First Sunday in Lent, so let’s try to read today’s passage from that vantage point.

Lent is one of the seasons in the Christian Year that calls us to an “emptying.”  How then is the temptation of Jesus an illustration of this?

I think it’s because even Christ had to be “emptied” of any and all secondary factors, in order that he could fulfill the mission the Lectionary reminded us about on January 27 (Luke 4:14-21).  He had to be emptied of any and all “God +_____” elements and emerge from the desert as one who lived for God Alone.

Jesus had to confront the same confrontation we face in Lent, but (truth be told) every day in our Christian journey—the tendency to ascribe to secondary factors (expressed in the three temptations) what only God can provide.

Lent gives us plenty of time to do “spiritual spring cleaning” and get rid of all the insufficient dependencies which accumulate during the rest of the year.  Lent is God’s call for us to confront the confrontation—to face the false call of satan to give ourselves to things which only end up eroding our purpose on earth (i.e., fulfilling the two great commandments).

Lent gives us time to confront the confrontation—the “tissue-paper promises” that hide the rock-solid realities.  Jesus entered the desert to emerge standing on Square One.  Lent is God’s invitation to us to do the same.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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