Matthew 4:1-4

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” 

Replacing the emptiness

A seminary professor was standing in front of a room. In his hand, he held an empty pint glass and asked the students, “How do you remove all the air from the glass?” One student raised his hand and suggested sucking the air with your mouth. No, that didn’t work. Another suggested turning it upside down and shaking really hard. That seemed to be more of a joke, but the professor tried it anyway. No, that didn’t work either. The class was stumped.

The professor then pulled a glass pitcher of water from underneath the desk. He proceeded to pour the water into the glass until it was overflowing the sides. “There,” he said, “no more air.” The class groaned.

This Lent there are things that we may try to get rid of in our lives. There are Lenten intentions of all sorts. No chocolate or fast food or social media. Or perhaps you have chosen to take on special act of devotion or charity. Either way it marks a radical change in the way we usually live our lives. And this might seem impossible.

But how do you just get rid of something? Do you suck it out? Do you shake it real hard? It turns out that the easiest thing to do is to try to replace it with something else, like water replacing air.

In our reading from Matthew 4, the devil has ideas for how to replace the emptiness: an easy fix, a cheap thrill, a chance for power and glory. This Lent allow God to rush into your life instead. Let God’s goodness overflow and let your hearts be quenched by the all surpassing love God is.

Pr. Daniel Joyner Miller


Fill our hearts with your all-surpassing love, O Lord. Chase out all that is not you.

To Ponder:  What do you need to replace in your life?