Linda Gowland, Lay Leader, St Aidan’s URC comments on Mark 1 v 9 - 15:

This passage gives us Jesus, having been baptised by John, going off to the wilderness to be tested ie he will be faced with temptation.

As we have now entered Lent many of us will be thinking about resisting temptation; but, in every part of our lives, and even more in today’s difficult time, temptations slide gently into and out of our routines.

We can be a little less than absolutely honest here, we can be a bit less generous there, temptation is the pull that slightly shifts our lives away from God; if we give in often enough then we find ourselves set upon a different course for our lives, not always the best one. God loves us to be free.

Freedom means we have choices. Choices can go wrong.

Jesus doesn’t find himself in the wilderness by accident. God is at work to show that Jesus’ time of temptation and testing gives us a pattern for our lives. Maybe there are times when God sets us in places where we have choices to make; maybe we think of turning our back on God and falling under the spell of temptation.

Jesus could have done just that when tempted by the devil in the wilderness.

But the passage goes on to tell us that God doesn’t leave Jesus alone. Jesus’ protection is his knowledge of the deep love of God; he knows God is with him at all times.

He knows God will show him the right way forward and we should realise that God provides us with exactly the same.

With that knowledge making sure we are open and listening for his voice, temptation need not turn us away from God after all.