The third test with which Satan tries to get Jesus to be less than he is a test we face every single day. Satan tells Jesus: All this will be yours if you forget who you are. And, the joke’s on Satan – the whole world, all of creation, already belongs to God, even if so many humans have forgotten their Creator.
God has already given us the good life. We don’t have to prove ourselves worthy of it. We don’t have to fight for it or claw our way to the top to get it. We just need to acknowledge and accept that we are God’s beloved children, inheritors of the Kingdom that is already here. The only immigration policy of God’s Kingdom is that all are welcome and loved. The only navigation system we need to find it is to follow Jesus on the Way of Love.
In the Temptation Story, Satan tries to coerce Jesus into being someone he isn’t, to accept less than what is already his, to be less than he is. The abundance of Life that God created us to live is a never ending supply of grace, peace, hope, and love. Why do any of us settle for less?
This story ends with Angels tending to Jesus. God’s love and provision for Jesus’ needs wasn’t a reward for a job well done, it just is. The economy of God’s Kingdom is relational not transactional. When we let life become a series of transactions: I do this for you & you do that for me, I give you this because you earned it, I get that because I deserve it, etc., we are being less than we are created to be.
The act of giving up things during Lent is to help us get rid of that which blocks our vision of God and who we are as God’s beloved Children. Lent is about improving our Kingdom vision. How has God transformed your vision in this time?
We aren’t quite done with Lent, however. We must inhabit the events of the coming days before we can celebrate Easter. We must witness Jesus’ last meal with the disciples before his arrest, the confrontation in the garden, his trial, suffering, and crucifixion, his agonizing death on the cross, and the grief of those who placed him in the tomb. Without this, Easter is just another day in which we accept less than what God gives us.
Don’t skip to the end. There can’t be resurrection without death. There can’t be new life without letting go of the old one. Don’t settle for less.