Jesus' Desert Boot Camp
The devil said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.' Luke 4:3
Lent is a great opportunity to reflect on Jesus' time in the desert and the events leading up to the crucifixion. It's interesting that straight after Jesus was baptised and His Father told Him how much He loved Him, He was 'sent' (some translations say 'driven') into the desert (Mark 1:2)! It seems like a harsh act for a loving Father, but the desert was like boot camp - a training ground where the Holy Spirit would be like Jesus' personal trainer. In the desert, Jesus would go head to head with the devil and as a result of persistent temptation and extreme combat, Jesus would be fully equipped for ministry and ready to undertake His world-changing mission. Soldiers go through rigorous training in preparation for war, but Jesus' testing was beyond comprehension - He endured six weeks' of extreme boot camp for the sake of humankind.
You've not heard from me for a while because I've been battling stones of a different kind - kidney stones! I had something of a desert experience for many weeks across Christmas. But once the pain had subsided, I realised that my condition was like a mini retreat, precious cave-time with God my Father, like Elijah experienced. Being home alone at Christmas is not something to be feared, because God is enough. Our trials strengthen us. The aridity of the desert can be a place of nourishment and transformation. Stones can become bread!
Read the full Bible study, including imaginative desert meditation, in Transformed by the Holy Spirit - book & CD/MP3.