Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
In each of the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we hear the story of the temptation of Jesus. This story takes place right after Jesus’ baptism. Jesus is, as the text says, led into the wilderness by the very same Spirit that descends upon him at his baptism. You can almost see it, can’t you? His long hair is hanging heavy on his head as he starts his journey out into the wilderness, dripping all along the way.
I like to think that our lives are the same. We make our way to the baptismal font, some of us when we are babes and some of us at a more mature age, and we are splashed or dunked or sprinkled with water; we are told that we have been cleansed from all our sins and that the Spirit of God is with us forever. And then life goes on. We go back to our work; we go back to our families; we go back out into the world to be tempted and tested and tried. We make our journeys with our wet hair plastered to our heads, dripping all along the way.
Baptism isn’t something that protects us from the temptations of the devil—we will be tempted. Baptism is a covenant, a promise that God makes with us, and in it we are told that wherever we go and whatever we might do, God is with us.
Appointed readings for today: Deuteronomy 26: 1-11, Psalm 91: 1-2, 9-16, Luke 4:1-13