Throughout this Season of Lent, we’ve looked to the wilderness to learn lessons about the spiritual life.
Jesus being taken to the wilderness before starting his ministry teaches us to slow down before moving forward. Spend time in prayer with God.
Live life out of the reality of being a Child of God.
Jesus is God’s Son, listen to him!
To know God, open your eyes to see what he has done. God reveals himself through action and narrative.
Loosen your grip on what you have in your hand to allow God to reveal himself through it.
Recognize God along the journey and in the valley so you’ll recognize him on the mountaintop.
This Sunday is the beginning of the Passion Week, leading to Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection, which we will celebrate the next Sunday on Easter. When we look to the lessons from the wilderness, we see that all Jesus learns in the wilderness leads him to go back to civilization to save it. Jesus didn’t come to rapture souls from a physical creation. Jesus came to restore God’s broken creation to the perfection God intended (Revelation 21:5). The enemy which needs to be conquered is death itself. This is why Paul says the Resurrection brought victory over death (1 Cor 15:54-57).
When you have an enemy, who needs to be vanquished, we learn from the world that you need to carry a bigger stick. Jesus, who shows us the most excellent way, takes the path of love and allows evil to do its worst to him. When Jesus calls his disciples to pick up their crosses and follow him, he was showing them a new way to live: the way of the cross. This way of living has to be lived out of the foundation built on knowing that you are a daughter/son of God, knowing and experiencing who God is, and loosening our grip on our own lives so that God can use us for his glory. The wilderness teaches us to move towards the chaos of the world in order to bring it peace.
The beginning of Passion Week starts with Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem as King (Luke 19). The people sing “Hosanna” ahead of him in celebration of the coming liberation. Jesus weeps over the city because they don’t understand what it will take to bring liberation saying, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace” (Luke 19:42).
Jesus moves from wilderness to city to bring peace to the chaos. We are called to do the same. He sees the chaos and offers reconciliation. We are called to do the same. The resurrection we celebrate at Easter is the assurance that our efforts for reconciliation will not be in vain (2 Cor. 5). Take time this next week to read through the Passion Week of Christ (Luke 19, 22, 23). Look at all that Jesus endures while thinking about all we’ve learned from the wilderness. How do these things aid Jesus in his journey towards the cross? How do these lessons from the wilderness aid you in your journey towards a Christ-like life?