All of us are aware that when 40 is referenced in Scripture, the reader is to interpret that not literally, but symbolically, meaning a great amount of time. So, Jesus is driven into the desert by the Spirit for a long period of time. Jesus spent time in the desert struggling with temptations, the elements of nature, struggling with wild beasts, struggling with hunger. It was the human Jesus that found himself alone in the desert.
Jesus was also graced while in this seclusion. “And the angels ministered to him.” He was able to ingest the power of the Spirit working in him. His vulnerability in the desert moved him to a radical dependence on God and from that holy space Jesus gained insight, wisdom, perspective. He comes out of this holy experience with the awareness that God is moving through him and proclaims God’s Word!
I couldn’t help but compare the experience of this past year to this reading. Like Jesus, we were driven into seclusion, into the desert, and the wild beast we encountered was Covid. We also encountered our shared amount of temptations! How have we spent our time in the desert? How have we faced our temptations?
Like Jesus, we have been graced by the wisdom that has been gifted to us by the Spirit while in this liminal space. Jesus came out of the wilderness and reveals God’s Word. What wisdom have we gained? How has God informed us during this time? How has this time changed me?