Reading for First Sunday of Lent
Peace be with you!
It is difficult to understand what another person is going through until you go through a similar situation. I never understood why my parents are bitter toward one another until I got divorced. Now I understand why my dad changed how he told stories to exclude any mention of my mom. Now I understand why my mom hates seeing pictures of my dad. My perspective changed when I got my own divorce and gained insight as to the pain it causes.
Jesus comes into the world as the Son of God who never sins. Jesus is perfect in every way. After his baptism, in order to gain insight into our emotions and thoughts, God sends Jesus into the wilderness (Mark 1:12) as a crash course in pastoral care. Jesus has to feel the raw emotions we go through every day in order to have the compassion for his ministry—to heal the blind man, to converse with the Samaritan woman, to raise Lazarus, to share meals with sinners, to preach the good news, and to die for our sins on the cross. This is why God the Father sends Jesus Christ into the world.
God does not make Jesus face Satan alone in the wilderness; he sends angels to wait on him (Mark 1:13c). Like Jesus, you are never alone. God is with you in the good, the bad, and the ugly times. God feels your pain when ending a relationship, when you are sick, when you are faced with an impossible decision, when you feel alone, and when you are lost, and he is with you through it all. When you are lost in the wilderness (faced with a difficult decision or starting a new journey), God is with you, even if you feel alone.
It amazes me that God went through so much trouble to understand our pain by sending Jesus into the wilderness. Jesus takes on our pain, despair, suffering, sadness, and more to gain credibility to preach the good news to us. Without the credibility, why would we listen? How would Jesus even understand our emotions? The wilderness gives Jesus moral authority. He has felt our pain and has an alternative: repent and turn over our lives to the Lord. With the Lord by our side, with the promise of eternal life in the Kingdom of God, we can conquer anything.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for being with Jesus Christ in the wilderness. Help us to feel your presence in the world as we go about our daily lives. Comfort us in the wilderness and deliver us from the devil. Lead us to share the good news in the world. Thank you for the good news. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- When have you felt lost in the wilderness?
- When and how have you felt God’s presence?