I have been thinking about what was on Jesus’ mind in the wilderness. No one can know that because it is not mentioned in the wilderness temptation narratives. However, something had to be on his mind leading up to and following the temptation by Satan. I particularly have wondered what Jesus was thinking about which pertained to love.
The idea wasn’t new to Jesus, to be sure. He was part of and witness to the purest, most perfect demonstration of love in his pre-creation life in the Trinity. In the creation we witness how divine love was expressed and which we enjoy:
- In the perfect “community” that created the cosmos.
- In the loving creation of human life and in the intimate breathing-in of life.
- In the decision that was made in-Trinity to take up residence within the human community – reflected in the Incarnation.
- And in the tender acts of love we see in the treatment of the woman caught in an adulterous relationship, in the touching of lepers, and in the fellowship with outcast people.
That love was on Jesus’ mind is apparent in what he said to the crowd listening to his “sermon on the mount.”
- Avoid allowing anger toward others to carry you away, Matthew 5:21-22.
- Keep your promises, Matthew 5:33-37.
- Don’t extract revenge, Matthew 5:38-42.
- Walk in the other person’s shoes. Don’t pretend to know what burdens they are carrying, Matthew 7:1-6.
- Treat others they way in which you want to be treated, Matthew 7:12.
At the end of his life, Jesus seized a golden opportunity to hear and see what was on his mind when he took a towel and basin in the upper room and washed the feet of all Twelve of his disciples. After this he said, “I have given you an example to follow. I have given you an example to wash one another’s feet as I have washed yours.” John 13:14,15. Such an action proceeds from love.
Following Jesus’ example to love one another is an indispensable component of the Christian life. One is out of step with Jesus if they are unloving toward others. Watching how Jesus treated others is a good model of what a loving person looks like.
Loving God, we confess that we are not often loving. We hoard, judge, seek vengeance, and act in other ways you would never condone. So we ask you to help us see ourselves clearly and strive to be more like Jesus in the way he gave his life for the well-being of others. May a life of love be the leading direction of our aspirations. In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.