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First Sunday in Lent (no audio)

March 10, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Lent

Passage: Luke 4:1–4:13

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†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 4:1-13
Date: March 10th, 2019; Lent 1; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days.
  • The wilderness is the anti-Eden.
  • Instead of abundance, lushness, and life - it’s a place of barrenness, dryness, and death. 
  • It’s our place. 
  • God didn’t create the wilderness - it’s a place we made through our sin.
  • Jesus was led into this wilderness, into this battlefield, and was tempted by the devil for forty days. 
  • The devil first tried the temptation of physical appetite.  
  • Jesus ate nothing during those forty days in the wilderness and was starving.
  • So Satan encouraged him to turn stones into bread.
  • Bread would fill and satisfy his aching stomach.  Bread would satisfy that basic need of our human bodies.  
  • And what power hunger can have over us.  When we become hungry the desire for food can overtake everything.  
  • Just think if you went hungry for even a few days – your stomach burning, your body weak, your mind filled with nothing else but trying to find something to put a stop to the hunger.  
  • Consider going hungry for forty days.  
  • It likely wouldn’t take much tempting at all before we gave in and traded our righteousness for bread.  
  • In fact, we see it every day as people lie, cheat, and steal in order to get their daily bread.  
  • Not Jesus.  Jesus doesn’t hunger and thirst for the things of this world - he hungers and thirsts for righteousness.  
  • Jesus resisted the devil and continued to suffer extreme hunger.
  • The devil then turned to the temptations of power, prestige, and honour.  
  • He shows Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world and promises them to him.  
  • He could rule all of them.  They could all be his if he follows the devil’s request to worship him.
  • This temptation must have been much more difficult for Jesus to resist than satisfying his intense hunger.
  • With the devil’s offer there are now two paths set out before him.
  • The first path is that he continues his journey to the cross in which he will be falsely arrested, beaten, spit on, and finally nailed on a cross to suffer and die.
  • The second path – the path of the devil – is that he can have all power and authority over the kingdoms of the earth if he just bowed down to him.
  • He could avoid all of the suffering that lays before him and trade it in to be king of the world. 
  • Just think of how often people fall into temptation just to get a little slice of power, prestige, and honour.  
  • The scheming. The lies. The pushing others aside to climb higher and higher.
  • The setting aside of what is truly important in our lives – God, our family and friends, peace - in order to just gain a little more.  
  • Not Jesus.  He turns to God’s word where it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.”  
  • Nothing is greater than worshipping and serving God – no earthly power, prestige, or honour comes even close.  
  • True living is living as we were intended to live – worshipping and serving our Creator.  Being in a right relationship with him.  Being in a right relationship with each other. 
  • That is where true power, prestige, and honour resides.
  • Next the devil tempts Jesus to pride.  He tells him to test his Father by throwing himself off of the temple.  
  • Instead of all of the suffering on his journey to the cross, the devil suggests he prove himself in this way.  This is a much easier path for our Lord.   
  • But once again, the sinless Son of God will not fall.  
  • He is not there for himself.  He has humbled himself, taken on our flesh, to sacrifice himself for us.
  • Although the intensity of our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness was far beyond anything that we could even imagine, but our Lord loves us enough to set aside his needs in order to look after ours.
  • After this last attempt, the devil, the accuser, leaves our Lord and the wilderness having completely failed.  
  • The temptation in the wilderness, and every other temptation that Jesus faced, is super important.
  • Certainly Jesus serves as a great example for resisting temptation as he did by relying on God’s Word.
  • But most importantly, every time Jesus resisted these assaults from the devil, he remained the perfect and sinless sacrifice for us.  
  • Every time Jesus resisted these temptations he was resisting them for us – on our behalf.
  • Jesus resisted these temptations so that he could remain the spotless Lamb of God who would sacrifice himself to suffer the punishment that we deserve for all of the times we have fallen into temptation.
  • Jesus resisted these temptations so that he could give us his perfection, his sinlessness.
  • Now, when God sees us, when we appear before his judgment seat, he does not see our sin.  
  • Instead, he sees his Son’s purity and righteousness that covers us.
  • God has washed away your sins and has claimed you in the waters of Holy Baptism.  
  • Where the devil seeks to accuse you and lead you to despair - the Lord absolves you, declaring that you are not guilty for his sake.  
  • Where you are still plagued with the temptations of a sinful heart and flesh - Christ gives you his perfect, sinless body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins.
  • The One who has resisted all temptation declares to you that you are forgiven.  His victory is yours.  Eternal life is yours.  
  • For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  Amen.   
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

More in Lent

April 19, 2019

Good Friday

April 18, 2019

Maundy Thursday

April 7, 2019

The Fifth Sunday in Lent