Posted on Sun, Feb 17, 2013
First Sunday in Lent February 16, 2013
Gospel Text: Luke 4:1-13
The Temptation of Jesus
4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’ ” 5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ ” 9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ 11 and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” 12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
The Temptation of Jesus… It is tantalizing to think about Jesus being tempted… People wonder, if Jesus is God AND human, there must be something that would make him “stumble” … if even a little but. There has to be something that could “tempt the human side of Jesus,” … or is there? But this kind of talk is more about “enticing” Jesus, than “tempting.” What kind of thing would entice you to stumble out of a journey walking with Jesus?
In today’s text, it isn’t a question if the devil can make Jesus eat something he is not supposed to eat, or do something he is not supposed to do. There is something much more at stake here. The devil isn’t just trying to get Jesus to do something small and “un-Jesus-like.” The entire salvation of the cosmos is at stake here, and both Jesus AND THE DEVIL know it. The temptation we are talking about is nothing like enticing Jesus with a very non-kosher ham sandwich after 40 days in the wilderness. The devil is out to cause Jesus to do something that would be contrary to his very being, something that would violate His identity as the Messiah to Israel and the Savior to the Gentiles. The devil is trying to lead Jesus away from God’s plan for OUR salvation.
It is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus has just been baptized and God had announced to all who witnessed his baptism, that Jesus is God’s beloved Son. Until Jesus’ baptism only a few people really knew who Jesus was; like the people “who have eyes to see” like Simeon and Hannah, the prophets who saw the baby Jesus and praised God singing, “Lord now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled. My eyes have seen the salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of every people. A Light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.” They knew who Jesus was by the leading of the spirit, their calling and Jesus’ presence.
After Jesus was baptized, it seemed like Satan was just waiting a short distance to ambush Jesus when he was the most weak, hungry and alone.
But just like Israel was lead by the pillar of smoke in the desert for 40 years, just like Moses was on the mountain for 40 days, or Elijah’s 40 days of fasting, we can see how the evangelist Luke, is trying to tell us that Jesus has gone into the wilderness for his own “training,” and Jesus will truly demonstrate to all that He is the Messiah of Israel, the Savior to the Gentiles.
Jesus is tempted three times. The first temptation hits a guy in the worst place, the stomach. The devil is talking about our immediate desires; things like food, water, clean air and all that is truly necessary in order to live. However, in our affluent society people may still claim that they “need” the newest gadget, car, or whatever. Are we really aware of what we truly need? Are we aware of the needs of our neighbor? Do we really know the differences between “wants” and “needs?” Jesus is helping us make at a start at discerning what is most important for our true living. God’s Word tells us that through the cross of Jesus, our real identity is “Child of God. Our neighbor is not a stranger, but just another person loved by that same God that we haven’t met yet.
Have you ever really been hungry, and not known when, where, or from whom you might receive your next meal? God is love, and we are the created ones. God created our food and all we need, not for the purpose of satisfying our pallet and filling our bellies, but for purpose of strengthening our body, mind and souls, so that we can fulfill our calling to be God’s People and therefore be aware of the needs of our neighbor. We need more than food; we need the Word of God calling us to be aware of our world and needs of our neighbors. In responding to the needs of neighbor as well as ourself, we begin to live a life that is worthy of being called, the People of God.
What would the hungry of the world think of the temptation of “Turning stones into bread?” If we could simply turn stones into bread, many more people could be fed… As the savior of all, wouldn’t this also be a temptation to Jesus? The truth is, God expects the “Body of Christ” The Church, out of compassion and mercy, not sorcery and magic, to be the ones to make sure that all people, especially the “Little Ones” have enough to eat
Next, the devil tempts Jesus with “authority;” the devil shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and promises to give this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me and I give it to whom I will. Some people say this is proof that the kingdoms of the world are in control of the devil… but when did the words of the devil suddenly have such credibility and authority over the world God created? This is a lie. Don’t expect the devil to tell the truth. The worship the devil desires is only for us to acknowledge that the devil has authority of over the kingdom (in which we live.) When we believe the words of the devil, then we give him authority to rule over us. The only way the devil, or evil, or hate, or greed or whatever is not of God, has any authority over us, is when/if we give that authority to devil. God never gave the devil any kind of “authority,” the only way for the devil to get any kind of authority, is if we give it to the devil, by trusting or believing his lies. Things may look really bad, but God is in charge right now, Jesus has arrived and Jesus has his face on Jerusalem.
This temptation seems to remove the need for the gift of faith (which we receive from God). Wouldn’t it be easier for Jesus to just MAKE the people follow and believe? Using some sort of magic, rather than the cross to help people believe. If that were the case, Jesus obedient journey to the cross would become meaningless.
The final text features Jerusalem; and it foreshadows Jesus’ return to the temple. The devil’s misuse of scripture is a warning to the dangers of those who misuse of scripture, or use scripture just to fulfill their own agenda. Again acknowledging that Jesus truly is the Son of God, the devil is suggesting a course of action, which would cause a conflict between Jesus’ authority over and against God’s Will. But the Psalm speaks this word of promise specially to the faithful one who trusts in God and cleaves to God in Love, Psalm 91:1,14.
Assurance of God’s Protection
1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, 14 Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.
Jesus is the one who is being tested as Israel – not God - has been, and Jesus refuses to put God on trial.
The final temptation in Jerusalem, and we must recall the importance of the temple. God no longer lives in the temple, Jesus IS God, and God’s righteousness, power and mercy will be shown through Jesus’ death and resurrection, the cross. Rather than suffering on the cross, wouldn’t it be easier to for Jesus to just show up on Jerusalem with an army of angels, like a famous rock star, or military commander like MacArthur, and impress upon people that Jesus IS God, and that is that?! Isn’t this what people ask God to do all the time? If God would just give me a sign… then I would believe. The journey to the cross is necessary for us to understand God’s mercy and power.
Psalm 91:1-2 Assurance of God’s Protection
1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, 2 will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” 14 Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.
Jesus was tempted, as we are all tempted. Jesus was tempted by one of his closest followers when He says to Peter, “Get behind me Satan!” The battle with Satan must have been fierce. In Luke it says that Satan left Jesus for a more “opportune time/moment.” In Mark, it seems that Satan never left Jesus, even until the end.
But in the end, Jesus did not give into temptation, and in order to show God’s mercy and grace, and Jesus’ obedience to the Law of Love, Jesus went to the cross and was crucified. Dr. Harry Wendt says, “Jesus was crucified, and Satan was the one who got nailed!” Jesus had the final surprise, and the surprise was when it looked like Jesus was finally defeated, it was at this time, Jesus was obedient to God’s Will and we were forgiven! When we may feel weak and defeated, it is at this time that Jesus gives us the biggest surprise and tells us that we are not alone, we will never be alone, God is with us, Jesus is with us and nothing is impossible. In the end, Jesus will have the biggest surprise for all of us, including the devil. Just when the devil, doubt, or fear thinks that it has Jesus locked up in a tomb, BAM! Jesus will appear and say to all those with ears to hear, and eyes to see, “Peace be with you, I am with you, now and to the end of the age” Amen.
“And may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
Ten Commandments Pidgin Style
1. God is numbah one.
2. No make da kine statues.
3. Watch yo’ mout. No swea with God’s name.
4. On Sunday, no can do notting.
5. Leesen to yo’ muddah and yo’ fuddah.
6. No murder nobody.
7. No go moemoe with yo’ bradah’s wahine.
8. No cockaroach notting.
9. No lie, brah!
10.No be jealous one noddah person’s stuffs.
Oh, an one noddah ting… no talk stink about nobody, bumbye you get bachi.
The Ten Commandments from Luther’s Small Catechism
The First Commandment You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
The Second Commandment You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.
The Third Commandment Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.
The Fourth Commandment Honor your father and your mother. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.
The Fifth Commandment You shall not murder. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.
The Sixth Commandment You shall not commit adultery. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.
The Seventh Commandment You shall not steal. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.
The Eighth Commandment You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.
The Ninth Commandment You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.
The Tenth Commandment You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not entice or force away our neighbor’s wife, workers, or animals, or turn them against him, but urge them to stay and do their duty.
[The text of the commandments is from Ex. 20:3, 7, 8, 12–17.]
The Close of the Commandments What does God say about all these commandments? He says, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Ex. 20:5–6)
What does this mean? God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. Therefore, we should fear His wrath and not do anything against them. But He promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him and gladly do what He commands.
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