In the Lectionary

March 6, Lent 1C (Luke 4:1-13)

The wilderness can be a frightening landscape that whispers from the shadows, “You’re all alone.”

We get some biblical whiplash this Sunday. Last Sunday we observed Jesus on the mountaintop—a wonderful, Broadway-style production with costume changes, offstage voices, and guest stars brought in from previous productions of God’s glory. Now we flash back to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, encountering him immediately after his baptism, still dripping wet, and headed into the wilderness.

The temptation in the wilderness is deeply familiar in lectionary-based contexts; it’s assigned each year at this time. The details vary a bit between Matthew and Luke, and Mark is predictably sparse, but the theme is consistent each year.

There’s comfort in familiarity, isn’t there? We know when we start reading it how it will end. We know that Jesus overcomes the temptations that the devil sets before him. It’s great to start Lent with a win, especially because I can almost guarantee I’ve already given up on whatever Lenten discipline I’ve set for myself.