Grace: To know how Jesus prepared Himself for His mission, to love Him more, and to imitate Him more closely.
Text: Matthew 4:1-11
Reflection: After His Baptism, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the desert. The desert has been a rich image throughout the history of Christianity. It has symbolized the spiritual difficulties that believers encounter, just as the Israelites struggled for forty years in crossing the desert. It has also symbolized a place of encounter with the Lord, as so many of the Desert Fathers discovered in the early Church.
Jesus is tempted three times. First, He is tempted to turn stones into bread to feed Himself. Second, He is tempted to throw Himself down from a parapet and be saved by angels. Third, He is tempted to worship the tempter in exchange for all earthly power.
Later, Jesus will do miraculous things with bread, but He rejects the temptation here. Later, He will put His life completely in the hands of the Father, but He rejects the temptation here. Later, He will become the King of Kings, but He rejects the temptation here. What then makes each of these a temptation?
The Spirit led Jesus into the desert, so that Jesus could learn more about Himself and His mission. He needed to go to the desert before He began the proclamation of the Good News. And the Spirit does not abandon Him, but sends angels to minister to Him after the tempter has departed.
Questions: How do I feel when the Spirit leads me into the desert? What does the desert conjure up for me?
What are the deepest temptations I undergo, and how can I make them an offering to God?
When do I experience God ministering to me?