As I mentioned in my last item published two weeks ago, entitled Pause for Humility, at this time of year, known as Lent, we Christians traditionally pause to remember the period of six weeks immediately following his baptism, that Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for his coming ministry.
Nothing easy this, as the Bible tells us that he ate absolutely nothing during this period, concentrating every emotion and appetite on his relationship with God and on the personal cost of the necessary self-sacrifice.
Personally, I know how important food is and how painful it can be to go without for just a day or so when, for example, preparing for an operation.
And yes, I guess many of us have agonised over the risks and pain of impending operations, but for Jesus, it was immeasurably worse as this period of preparation without food lasted 40 days, and the surgery for which he was preparing himself would, he knew involve indescribable agony culminating in his own death.
Small wonder that as he faced the rival demands of the common people, of justice and truth, of his family, the authorities and of his God, with all the usual options for short cuts and corruption, the Bible also tells us that he was tempted by the Devil.
So, suffering intense hunger, Jesus went day after day eating nothing at all, resisting that temptation Satan threw at him to turn stones into bread (doubtless well within his power), lest it interfere with his resolve and his personal communion with God.
And as he faced the certainty of his ultimate agonising destiny, as I commented two weeks ago, he similarly resisted all the ‘cheap and easy’ alternatives offered by Satan.
And who could have blamed him had he succumbed? But he didn’t even for a moment consider such alternatives, accepting the necessity of faithfully serving his father, whatever the personal cost.
So this Lent, dare we do other than examine our own lives and the little sacrifice we at times make for our faith, and ourselves resolve to give more time to our communion with Him.