The Gospel Question

Each week, a member of the parish submits a question relating to the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel lesson. We invite you to reflect on it yourself or with your family or friends, as we will be doing at meetings at St. Stephen’s.

First Sunday of Lent 

Luke 4:1-13


“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.”

These verses open the familiar Gospel story of the Temptation in the Wilderness. I was caught by the word “full” and by a nuance on the word that I learned from some Swedish friends. “When you have had enough to eat, don’t say ‘I’m full.’ To us it means that you are pregnant! ‘ Okay! “Instead, they continued, we say “I am satisfied.”

This amused me at the time. But when I read this passage from Luke, I chose to take the word seriously. I hear that Jesus entered into the wilderness completely satisfied, in fact, completed, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. There was nothing more he needed. She would satisfy Him and he would emerge to become our Satisfaction, the satisfaction for our sins and the completion of our salvation. For Jesus, the Holy Spirit sufficed and with the Son, God was satisfied.

There are many choices we can make to complete a Holy Lent and they are meant to test us and to call us to deeper disciplines of prayer and obedience. Fearful of failure, we may shy away from these choices. Or, on a more humorous note, overload on pancakes to make sure we are full. One more sausage should do it?

A Question

If we desire a satisfying Lent for me, for you, for St. Stephen’s, with desires fulfilled, calls answered, obediences embraced, does Luke’s Gospel this Sunday offer us a suggestion as to what we might most satisfactorily fill up on for the wilderness journey?

From Rev. Dee+

Here is the rest of the Gospel passage:

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.'” Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying 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 protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.