Monday, September 12, 2011
Tempted and Tried
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matthew 4:1-11
On our way home from New York yesterday we stopped at one our favorite and unique markets. Carrados is a place where every fruit and vegetable imaginable is available for great prices, along with meats, cheeses and breads from many different cultures. The clientele are from all languages and cultures, and is a very crowded place all day long. You have to be patient and persistent when you go there. And there are a thousand different taste treats to take home. It is easy to get swept up and tempted to bring much more home than one family will ever consume. It is a dangerous place for anyone trying to control their appetite.
Jesus is tempted after forty days fasting and praying in the wilderness. His body must have been aching for food and the tempter knew just how to get to him. A truly hungry person is blind to anything by sustenance. And yet Jesus finds a way to remain calm in the face of terrible, wrenching temptation, he found strength in his weakness to rely completely on God. We humans often fail because we count on ourselves alone, denying our weakness and our need.Jesus was cared for by angels after his ordeal. We are encouraged to see that no matter what arduous and painful ordeal we face, God id with us providing the strength and the helpers to get us through.
As I pack for my trip to the House of Bishops today, I want to remember that I cannot do anything by myself, and I want to rely completely on God in every trail and temptation that faces me. May we all trsut that God is sending help when we need it, picking us up when we fall, and filling us completely in our most tempted times.