You can see all the lectionary readings for the First Sunday in Lent, Year A by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Matthew.
After Jesus is baptized, he is led by the Spirit into the desert, or sometimes it’s called the wilderness. There he fasts and prays for 40 days and nights. (This is perhaps an unscientific idea, but the idea is he is living a pure and ascetic life and it mirrors the 40 years the ancient Israelites spent in the desert).
While there he is tempted by the devil. He is hungry and the devil tempts him saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these rocks to become bread.”
Jesus tells him man doesn’t live on bread alone but by every word of God.
Then the devil takes Jesus to Jerusalem and puts him in a high place on the edge of the Temple area, telling Jesus to jump off and angels would help him. The devil even quotes scripture at him. (This is not the only time–there are plenty of times in history when scripture is turned to evil purposes, and don’t forget it). Jesus tells him that scripture said, “You must not test the Lord your God.”
Then the devil takes Jesus to the top of a mountain and shows him the kingdoms of the world in all their glory. He tells him that if Jesus bows down to worship him, he will give him the world.
Jesus tells him to get lost, “You must worship the Lord your God. Serve only him!’”
Then the devil takes off and angels come help Jesus
So begins our season of Lent–our own 40 days of testing and quiet contemplation. I give things up for Lent, usually things that distract or make my life less quiet and beautiful. But I also try to add things in their place, which is I believe part of what makes Lent my favorite part of the church year. I love this opportunity for change, for growth, for reconciliation, for quiet meditation, prayer, and study. The things I give up leave room in my life for more spirituality and more movement toward Christ. Take time to dwell on the wonderful and the spiritual.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.Philippians 4:8, NRSV