The first week of Lent always leads us to contemplate the temptations of Jesus. We do this, firstly, to learn more about who Jesus was, and the kind of Messiah he chose to be. Then, secondly, we allow Jesus’ victory over temptation to inspire and strengthen us to face our own temptations. It’s important to realise that these were genuine temptations for Jesus. We may think that, since Jesus was God, there was never any chance that he would fail, but this denies his true humanity. Jesus could well have fallen and chosen to be a self-serving, power-hungry leader, like others in his (and our) world. But he chose a different way – the way of service, sacrifice and simplicity. He chose to offer his life for the sake of others.

Jesus’ temptations were not unique. He faced essentially the same enticements that we all do. It was only the specific way in which these temptations came to Jesus that were unique. This means that we can learn from how he overcame evil. It is a gift that we have this record of Jesus’ struggle with evil, and it is a testimony to his openness and honesty that he would share this experience with others (he must have done, or this story would never have been known by the Gospel writers). Jesus’ willingness to face the potential for darkness within himself is both a challenge and encouragement to us, if we will allow it to teach us.

This week we explore how to overcome the potential for darkness within us.

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