When we doubt the unconditional love of God, we forget who God is and who we are.


For the 1st Sunday of Lent, Lindsey and Adam read Matthew 4:1-11. “The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the son of God…’”

Stop right there!

What a sneaky, vicious little word, “If.”

The last thing Jesus hears before setting off into the desert is the proclamation that he is God’s Son, the Beloved, “with whom I am well pleased.” It is security in the knowledge that he is loved that gives Jesus the strength and stamina to spend 40 days and nights in the desert. Who is this “tempter” to sow seeds of doubt?

It looks like there are three temptations here, but there are really 4… or, only 1, depending on how you look at it. The first and perhaps only temptation is to give in to the word “If.” When we doubt the unconditional love of God, we forget who God is and who we are. God is Love. We are reflections, outpourings, of Love. Everything goes wrong when that truth slips from our grasp.

How does Jesus face up to the temptations that press on us daily? We are tempted to lose sight of the fact that we are unconditionally loved. Then we compete for resources that we perceive to be scarce, we try to show off our abilities, and we seek power – or even the means of attaining justice – over and against rather than with and for others.

Lindsey and Adam explore each of these temptations and also seek to understand why Jesus goes to be tempted in the first place. Maybe it is because life is a constant temptation to see ourselves narrowly and forget that we are all connected in Love. Maybe that temptation always surrounds us, and only when we face it head on, as Jesus did, can we recognize and overcome it.

The Olive

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