WEEK TWO | TEMPTATION
“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.”
In his famous sermon Being the Beloved, Henry Nouwen once summarized the three temptations by exposing the three lies that Satan tempted Jesus with: (1) You are what you do (“turn these stones into bread), (2) You are what you have (“to you I will give this authority and their glory…it will all be yours), and (3) You are what other people say about you (if you are the Son of God, throw yourself down — i.e. “Prove it.”)
Temptation is the moment when we are told one of these lies and have the choice to believe what God says or what the great Liar says. Think on these three lies and then think about the sin in your life. Do you find any correlation? This week, let’s examine ourselves in this way and put away the lies to remember the truth of God that defines this reality: in Christ, you are freely loved.
POSTURES & PRACTICES
- Take a prayer walk in your neighborhood or in nature
- Remove something from your life that causes the temptation to sin
- Name the “three lies” and reject them out loud
Traditional Collect: Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly and help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (BCP)
Meditative Prayer: Protect us, Jesus. From the world. The flesh. And the devil. I pray in your name, Amen.
(Canyon Road: A Book of Prayer)
THE SECOND SUNDAY
SILENCE [2 min]
Silence, stillness, and centering before the God of our salvation.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help.
A MEDITATIVE PRAYER
Uncover the things I hide. (Canyon Road: A Book of Prayer)
NEW TESTAMENT READING
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
(1 Corinthians 1:21–25)
- For the preaching and believing of Christ crucified
- For refugees and those who care for them
- For churches all over the world
He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
SILENCE [2 min]
Silence and stillness, as God has the last word to finish the day. He labors while you sleep.