The Essential Confrontation

Matthew 4:1-11

During Lent we will be overhearing 5 Great Faith Conversations. This week we listen in on the first conversation, which occurred after Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan. Jesus emerged from the waters and was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. There, for 40 days, he fasted, prayed, and considered what implications and responsibilities lay ahead of him as “God’s Son, in whom God is well pleased.” It was during this time that Satan came and tested Jesus…in fact, the testing was the very reason the Holy Spirit brought him to the wilderness in the first place. 

Every great and Godly undertaking in this world is met by a profound and persistent opposition. This resistance takes many forms, but it invariably serves to derail, deflect, demoralize, and discourage. Virtually everyone encounters it. Jesus encountered it. It’s baked into the very fabric of this world. If we could see it coming, with horns, a tail, and a pitchfork, our opposition would be easy enough to recognize, and we could run the other way.  But it is subtle, beguiling, often complimentary and practical. Most alarmingly, it is a voice that rises up within us.

Jesus went to sort out the difference between God’s call on his life and the seductive inner voice of opposition. Before he, or any of us, can give ourselves to the world, we need to have a true to self to give away. This requires an inner dialogue in which we grapple with the truth about ourselves.  It the “essential confrontation” that leads to life.