"Jesus returned from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the desert, where he was tempted by the Devil for forty days. In all that time he ate nothing, so that he was hungry when it was over.
The Devil said to him, "If you are God's son, order this stone to turn into bread."
But Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Human beings cannot live on bread alone.' "
Then the Devil took him up and showed him in a second all the kingdoms of the world. "I will give you all this power and all this wealth," the Devil told him. "It has all been handed over to me, and I can give it to anyone I choose. All this will be yours, then, if you worship me."
Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!' "
Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem and set him on the highest point of the Temple, and said to him, "If you are God's Son, throw yourself down from here. For the scripture says, 'God will order his angels to take good care of you.' It also says, 'They will hold you up with their hands so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.' "
But Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
For each temptation, Jesus' responses begin with "the scripture says." In the bold text, verses 9-12, the Devil throws that right back in his face and starts telling Jesus what the scriptures says. He's taunting him.
How many times have we tried to explain something through scripture to someone who just throws it back at us like that? Here Jesus doesn't even acknowledge that the Devil is right, he simply answers as he does every time that the scriptures says not to put the Lord to the test.
Jesus has just made it through 40 days of fasting in the desert. He must have called on some angels to get through that. He knows that God has sent him angels to take care of him and hold him up. He doesn't have to prove that to the world or to the Devil. His answer simply states that God doesn't have to be showy. In fact, he'd rather not be.
On Sunday, Father Paul likened Jesus' response here to the regularity with which he tells people not to tell anyone about the miracles that he performs in their lives. Why would he want to hide that? Why is he trying so hard to hide his miraculous self?
But Father Paul pointed out that he's not hiding, he just doesn't want the people to see him only as some miraculous, other-worldly being and get lost in the magic. He knew the path he laid out for us to follow him would be really difficult and that clinging on to one spectacular miracle of the past wouldn't suffice if we were to follow him to the end.
It's not about the spectacle. Lent isn't about telling everyone about all the sacrifices you're making for Jesus and how great your are for doing that. The scriptures says, "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do... but when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father." Matthew 6:16-18
Lent isn't a show. It's a journey for your heart. So how's it going?