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Summary: A sermon for the First Sunday in Lent

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First Sunday in Lent

Mark 1:9-15

"Do What God Requires of us"

9 ¶ In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove;

11 and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.

14 ¶ Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,

15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."RSV

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour< Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

There are a few verse from the Bible I would like to share that goes along this gospel lesson. There are two verses in the gospel lesson that we will concentrate on this morning.

They are: 12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.

And then from the book of Deuteronomy:

8:2 And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not.

And Deuteronomy 13:3

for the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Our lesson from Mark is the familiar story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. Mark leaves out many of the details which Luke and Matthew have in their gospels. But then it gives us a chance to dwell on the key concept of this story.

The idea that Jesus was tempted. "To tempt" means to try and convince someone to do something. Or I think in this case with Jesus’ temptation, God was wanting to see if Jesus would do what was required of him.I believe that this is God’s purpose in times of testing. At the same time, Satan has his own purpose -- to turn the testes away from God -- to "tempt" them to sin.

God wanted to see if Jesus knew what was going to be required of him as he set his face to Jerusalem and the cross. Would Jesus waver from his path? Would Jesus give in to all the temptations along the way? Would Jesus give in to the temptations of the devil out there in the wilderness?

As we put this story in context, we see that Jesus had just been baptized by John, a dove had landed on his shoulder and a voice from heaven had declared Jesus to be the Son of God. Pretty far out stuff wouldn’t you. Stuff of Star Trek, stuff on the Twilight Zone. Stuff not of this world.

So then as Mark’s gospel says, "The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness." Jesus left this place of the unreal and went into the real world were the common people reside. The world of temptation, the world of sin, and God wanted to see if Jesus would do what was required of him. To see if Jesus would reject sin and follow the path to the cross.


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