A Candle in the Sand for Jesus in the Desert
The Lesson: The Gospel lesson for the first Sunday in Lent, February 14, 2016, is the lesson of Jesus being tempted in the desert:
Luke 4:1-13 (NIRV)
Jesus Is Tempted in the Desert
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan River. The Spirit led him into the desert. There the devil tempted him for 40 days. Jesus ate nothing during that time. At the end of the 40 days, he was hungry.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man must not live only on bread.’ ” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Then the devil led Jesus up to a high place. In an instant, he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. He said to Jesus, “I will give you all their authority and glory. It has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God. He is the only one you should serve.’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:13)
Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem. He had Jesus stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. It is written,
“ ‘The Lord will command his angels to take good care of you.
They will lift you up in their hands.
Then you won’t trip over a stone.’ ” (Psalm 91:11,12)
Jesus answered, “Scripture says, ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:16)
When the devil finished all this tempting, he left Jesus until a better time.
Discuss the Lesson:
Jesus is “full of the Spirit” after his baptism by John. Remember, when Jesus came up out of the water the Spirit of God appeared in the form of a dove and the voice of God said, “this is my son and I love him” signaling the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. But before anything else, the spirit leads Jesus into the desert to fast (not eat) and pray and to be tempted by Satan in preparation for his ministry and his ultimate crucifixion.
Jesus spent 40 days in the desert, and that must have been hard. He must have been hot and thirsty, hungry and tired. But because it says “the Spirit led him” we know that he was not alone. Jesus was tempted the entire 40 days in the desert, but the 3 temptations we read about in Luke are the culmination.
Jesus has used God’s Word to defeat Satan, and sets an example for us to turn to the Bible when there are struggles in the world.
Activity: Candle in the Sand
After you have read and discussed the temptation of Jesus by Satan, make a centerpiece for the table to remind you of this during the season of Lent.
“Lord, we light this candle in the sand to remember the 40 days you were alone in the desert hungry, weak and yet victorious. Thank you, Jesus, for the nourishment of our meals and all of the comforts we take for granted. Amen”
Adapted from http://thedickensonfamilyblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/ash-wednesday.html