INTO THE DESERT
“As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.”
I was listening to the radio one morning and
the two hosts of the radio show were talking about Lent. It seems that
one was Roman Catholic and the other was Baptist. The Catholic fellow was
talking about the “pleasures” he was going to give up during the season.
The Baptist responded by saying: “Oh, Baptists don’t ‘do’ Lent.” I had to
laugh when the Catholic fellow said, “Well, of course not, you Baptists have
already given up everything that’s fun!”
Well, funny or not, the truth is that most Protestants don’t have much of an idea what the whole thing is about. And, I suspect, many of those who “do” Lent don’t really understand it either. So, for your education and enlightenment . . . the season of Lent is the 40 days before Easter (most church groups do not count Sundays). The purpose of Lent is to help the believer identify with the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness. It was during this time that He was tempted by Satan.
I think that it is significant to note that it was not Satan but the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the desert. It was God the Father who miraculously provided for His needs – sending angels to attend Him. And it was God’s Word that protected Him from temptation.
Now we move from "what" to "so what" . . .
Church, Lent isn’t really about giving up fun stuff. It is about letting the Holy Spirit lead us, even if it is into places we really don’t want to go. It is about trusting God to provide what we need, even when we don’t see any resources at all. It is about taking God at His Word, even when louder voices proclaim a different and compelling truth. It is also about having a sure knowledge that you are loved by the One whose love is everlasting and unshakable. Thank you, Father! May You find pleasure in me!
Pastor Keith Andrews