The gospel of this weekend is about Jesus’ experience in the wilderness. It cannot be separated from his earlier experience of baptism in Jordan River (Mk 1:9-11). This was a convincing moment for Jesus to call God as his own Father (Abba). It was publicly announced that Jesus is the Son of God. It is not about a status proclamation but simply a proclamation of “relationship” between the Father and the Son based on love. “You are my Son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased” (v11). This scene happened before Jesus began his ministry. This experience gives Jesus great confidence and assurance of his Father’s love. This is enough for Jesus to do his ministry. However, before he began his ministry he was brought by the Spirit into the wilderness. The great experience of being loved by the Father was first to be tested in the wilderness. And Jesus was really firm with his “great conviction” earlier that he is loved. This is enough for Jesus and he does not have to please anyone for acceptance or to prove himself as he was tempted by the devil to do so. Henri Nouwen a catholic priest and theologian in his article “In the Name of Jesus” said:
“Jesus refused to be a stunt man. He did not come to prove himself. He did not come to walk on hot coals, swallow fire, or put his hand in a lion’s mouth to demonstrate that he had something worthwhile to say” (London, 1989).
Sometimes we want to prove who we are by doing unnecessary things. Jesus’ experience tells us that “God’s love” is enough for us. During this time of Lent we are asked to do things ‘out of love’ for God and for others and not for gaining acceptance or to prove who we are. Saint Paul said in different way after reflection on his relationship with God as he heard God spoke to him:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor 12:9)