Into the Desert
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. (Luke 4:1-2)
In this season of Lent, followers of Jesus try to replicate the sacrifice of Christ’s journey into the desert by giving something up. Like Jesus, some will fast while others will give up certain “luxuries,” such as social media, alcohol, chocolate, or swearing.
Jesus journeyed to the desert to prepare himself for ministry and for the ultimate sacrifice he would make for the salvation of all mankind. His time in the desert reminds me more of the Native American practice of vision quest than our feeble attempts at sacrifice.
In the Lakota culture, the purpose of a vision quest is purification and seeking guidance from the Creator. The seeker is to fast, pray from the heart, and listen for Wakan Tanka (God) to speak.
Unlike Lenten fasting, however, vision quests are missing the most important part… Jesus! The message that the Son of God died and rose for the salvation of all of the Creator’s children is the only message that matters.
Jesus went to the desert to meditate on his Father’s Word and His will. He did not eat or drink. At the end of 40 days, Satan believed his physically weakened state would make him vulnerable and saw an opportunity.
On this and every other occasion, Satan was wrong! Though physically weak, Jesus had become stronger. The Holy Spirit abided in Him and delivered him from his temptation, affirming that He was indeed the Son of God.
At the end of Jesus' ministry, while hanging on the cross, physically weak and vulnerable, the Holy Spirit would once again abide in Him so the victory of our salvation might be won, and Satan would be ultimately and finally defeated.
If you engage in the practice of sacrificing something for Lent to replicate Jesus sacrifice, make yours a sacrifice that matters. Does your sacrifice require the Holy Spirit to lead and abide in you during your time "in the desert?” Make sure your road of sacrifice ends at the feet of Jesus on the cross.
Heavenly Father, may the Holy Spirit be with us and abide in us as we walk our sacrificial journey to the cross. Help us to appreciate the sacrifice you made for each and every one of us. Praise be to you! Amen.