Immediately after his baptism, the same Spirit that descended upon Jesus as a peaceful dove suddenly drives him into the wilderness. In baptism, God says, “You are my Son, the Beloved.” In the wilderness, Satan questions, “If you are the Son of God…” and tempts Jesus three times.
As a pastor, I often wonder whether we prepare people for wilderness life as well as we prepare them for the moment of baptism. For example, we have baptism classes for all of our baptism families, teaching about this important sacrament and the gift of God’s unconditional and undeserved grace. However, we do not offer wilderness classes. In the wilderness, we are tempted away from the good news we receive in baptism. In the wilderness, we may just forget who (and whose) we are.
Lent is wilderness class. Satan tempts Jesus with three things that we idolize: provision, protection, and power. Because we forget the freedom we have in God’s unconditional love, we store up provisions that make us feel rich, protections and security that make us feel safe, and power that makes us feel in control. It’s time to let it all go. You are enough. You are beloved. You are cared for.
Let us pray: Walk with me through the wilderness, O God, and return my heart to you. When I feel afraid, bring me your peace. When I put my trust in idols, bring me your truth. When I am lost, bring me your love. Amen.