by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
Now, to reflect on this Gospel in the Scripture lessons of today at the beginning of the Lenten season, it’s important to put this incident of Jesus being tempted within the framework of the Scriptures that have already been proclaimed to us about the baptism of Jesus and the mission that God gave to him at his baptism. I’m sure you recall how, especially here in Luke’s Gospel, the baptism is described as Jesus going down into the river, John baptizing him together with the other people who had come for this baptism of repentance, and then Jesus going up and going apart to be alone in prayer.
In that prayer, he experiences the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and he hears God saying to him, “Here is my chosen one, my beloved in whom I am well pleased.” That passage — we may not remark on it immediately, but Jesus would have because he knew the Scriptures. That passage is actually the beginning of the 42nd chapter of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It’s a beautiful, powerful passage from Scriptures about the special servant of God and now we see in this passage Jesus as the servant of God. “Here is my servant,” Isaiah proclaims, “whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit upon my servant and he will bring justice to the nations.”
He does not shout or raise his voice. Proclamations are not heard in the streets. “A broken reed he will not crush, nor will he snuff out the light of the wavering wick. He will make justice appear on the earth.” That passage goes on even further, but that’s the key point that helps to understand now these temptations. Jesus has just been called by God to bring true justice to the nations, to all people everywhere for all time, to help every one of us to come into a very real relationship with God…
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