Transfiguring Lent – Day 6: To God be the glory for the first Sunday in Lent. We use this opportunity to commiserate with the families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airline plane Flight ET 302 that crashed this morning killing 149 passengers from 35 countries including those attending United Nation climate summit, and 8 crew.
The Gospel reading for today from Luke chapter 4 summons us to identify with Jesus and especially on the right use of Scripture to overcome the seductions of today’s culture and temptation (vs 1-13). Transfiguring Lent is about right application of the Holy Scripture, for they are the Divine revelation. Paul with humble finality affirmed that all Scripture as God’s breathe and given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. All Scripture (the didactic, poetic, narrative, apocalyptic, proverbial, and epical sections) is given so that ‘the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works’ (2 Tim 3:16-117). Peter also said, “No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:20-21). The testimony of God’s Holy Word that make up the tapestry of Christian teaching is that it transfigures and equips people.
Transfiguring Lent is about walking unto perfection and guidance towards all good works. Transfiguring Lent is about being equipped by the Scripture to overcome temptations. Transfiguring Lent as a walk unto perfection entails confronting the seductions of today’s culture, especially the great temptation of our appetite and devil subtler game as faced by Adam and Eve. Transfiguring Lent is about overcoming the tempter’s urge and usage of Scripture, political, financial and sexual powers to satisfy our bodily desires, which not only dismissed God’s Word, it also negates His holiness. When believers are led into the wilderness of the seductions of today’s culture, we are alone at the mercy of the tempter just as “Christ’s being led into the wilderness gave an advantage to the tempter; for there he was alone.” Jesus does not need to gain identity, honour, and status by giving in to the devil’s temptations in the wilderness because “The son’s identity, honour, and status is rooted in his family’s honour and status.” Our identity does not belong to Satan, we do not need to give in to Satan’s temptations even in the politics and wilderness of the seductions of today’s culture.
The plan of the devil is to steal to kill and to destroy. Satan’s plan through the seductions of today’s culture is to corrupt the power of Jesus by corrupting the church. The Satan’s offer of power is on the increase even today just as Jesus was offered power to rule nations and power to control the bread of the world. Jesus as the Bread of life is not about power hierarchical grab but open table for every nation. Using the words of Lord Acton, the 19th century British politician, “Power tends to corrupt … absolutely power corrupts absolutely.” Transfiguring Lent is about participating in how God became man that man might become God, learning and living what a godly life is like. What is entailed in being a believing Christian resonates with what is precisely entailed for Jesus in being the beloved Son of God without fallen victim of Satan’s power offer.
Today’s Babylonian culture offers a ‘storyline of self-indulgence (make yourself bread from stones), self-aggrandisement (all the nations of the world will belong to you if you worship me), and self-serving religious identity (if you are the son of God cast yourself from the top of the temple).’ Transfiguring Lent offers us Jesus responses to today’s culture in reference to our awareness of the true source of life and identity. First, life is more than food and human desires. God is also the only one reliable and worthy of true worship and service. Transfiguring Lent offers understanding of God’s character, not one to be tested or doubted. Transfiguring Lent is rooted and dependent on God and His Word rather than self for life, glory, and identity. The greatest temptation is not identify with Jesus Christ and the Scripture in the light of God’s holiness.
The reflection is that, in the face of temptation, both Jesus and the devil quoted Scripture. The seductions of today’s culture is about the quoting of Bible to suite today’s Babylonian culture of sin, and pride. In response to temptation, Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy, but it is not enough to know Scripture. The devil, who quotes from Psalm 91, also knows Scripture. The challenge is that ‘Scripture must be read rightly in light of God’s nature and the life envisioned for God’s people.; On the subject of salvation or new birth, the Bible gives a very clear answer “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). Salvation is rooted in God’s narrative of deliverance and a response of faithful obedience to God rather than in self-reliance, which is the devil’s story. It is the teaching and the reproof through the Scripture that transfigures and produces sound doctrine.
Prayer: O Lord, deliver me from seductions of today’s culture of false idol—pleasure, power, honour, and wealth that tempts me.
O Lord, help and deliver me at the point of my vulnerability to the power of evil.