This week, Pastor Donnell invited us to consider Jesus’ responses to the temptations of the Satan in the wilderness as subversively political acts. We tend to see Jesus’ actions in this context as primarily those of personal piety rather than having political impact. The ways that Jesus refuses to use his power to manipulate or coerce, the ways in which he routinely submits himself to God’s will, and the ways in which he turns his back on the usual ways of bringing transformation to bear in the world all point to a very different political reality than we are accustomed to.
As we consider the temptations of Jesus, let’s also look at our own lives to examine what areas we have relegated to personal piety that may actually be political. We often separate our choices and temptations into the realm of personal morality, and fail to recognize how these choices impact the world around us. Spend a few minutes prayerfully reading over Luke 4:1-13. As you read, ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Listen for something in the passage that jumps out at you. Consider using these questions to help you navigate your reflection: Which temptation resonates most strongly with you? Is there a parallel temptation that you have experienced in your own life? Did you consider this temptation as something strictly personal, or did you recognize the potential impact of your actions on those around you? How might that temptation have a more far-reaching impact than your own piety? Who else would your choices effect?
Now spend some time considering Jesus’ response to temptation. Take a moment to remember that it is through this man and his challenging and beautiful ways of engaging the world that we have hope for true change and transformation— not just personally, but politically as well. Let’s pray together this week for the wisdom to recognize how we can partner with the radical humility and grace of Jesus as we navigate the difficult political climate of our world.
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.