“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.”
Jesus was driven into the desert. Driven. Christ submits to the will the of the Spirit and wanders the desert in prayer, fasting, under siege by temptation. This Lenten time reminds and foretells Gethsemane, where again Jesus would submit his will to the Spirit and the will of the Father.
Who is this “Jesus”? This God/Man who obeys and suffers? This incarnate person who for forty days humbled himself beyond his already humbled human state. Who is he?
Put this weak image of Jesus in your heart and mind: Christ in need of comfort, vulnerable to Satan and wild beasts, driven by the Holy Spirit. This is a person, a true person: in need of comfort, vulnerable, driven by forces outside of himself.
Too often, we project Jesus into our strong, self-enclosed idea of the human person. Jesus is not a superhero and neither are we. In today’s gospel, we are shown a God who does not ask us to suffer alone, who becomes man to show us the way, the via dolorosa.
May we follow that tragic way and become small, driven by the Spirit. This is the path towards the approaching kingdom of God, a kingdom with a King who suffers, serves, and submits. A king who loves, the King of love.