Sermons

Summary: It turns out that the devil is knocking at her door and she says, “I never dreamed he’d have blue eyes and blue jeans.”

“He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”

In the Greek, these were dangerous animals. These wild animals can remind us that dangers surrounded Jesus all through his life. And ours.

e.g. At a United States Army post in the desert of Kuwait, Protestant Chaplain (Major) Barbara K. Sherer tells the story how the dining hall caught fire one morning, and because of the high winds, the fire also destroyed the surrounding 5 tents in less than half an hour, including the large chapel tent.

Amazingly, the fire started right after breakfast in between the times for the Protestant and Catholic services. Since the fire happen right before Ash Wednesday, Major Sherer decided that she wanted some of the ashes from the fire for Ash Wednesday services.

After the fire cooled down, Major Sherer got permission to visit the site to collect some ashes.

A firefighter scooped up a cupful and put it in a plastic bag and gave it to her. Later, as she was pouring the ashes into a bowl for the service, she spotted something shining in the bag. It was a small silver cross that had survived the fire. On it were inscribed the words, “Jesus is Lord.”

How had the firefighter, in scooping up a random cup of ashes, managed to pick the exact spot where this tiny cross lay hidden?

Major Sherer writes, “The message to me is clear: God walks with us through the terrible firestorms of our lives and we are lifted unharmed from the ashes.”

Jesus is at peace with the wild animals, as prophesied by Isaiah: The wolf will live with the lamb,….

Messianic peace. By the blood of his cross.

Hebrews 12:14: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

Pope Francis says, “Every time your mouth is about to say something that sows discord and divisiveness and to speak ill of another person the sound advice is to bite your tongue!”

2. “and the angels ministered to him.”

A comedian said, “I have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. I’m also deaf in one ear.”

In a song by Terri Gibbs entitled “Someone’s Knockin,” it turns out that the devil is knocking at her door and she says, “I never dreamed he’d have blue eyes and blue jeans.”

The devil continually tries to trip us up through the temptations of sensuality, vanity and pride.

However, our faith teaches us that the devil cannot rob persons of their free will. Were this otherwise, the very grounds on which eternity is spent in heaven or hell would be removed, which is the free choice of accepting Christ as one’s Personal Lord and Savior though faith and baptism, and after that, with on-going discipleship and deeper conversion and sanctification.

That the spirit drove Jesus out into the desert shows us that moments of spiritual insight and victory may be followed by “wilderness experiences.”

Plus, successes in our undertakings can introduce new temptations to which the intoxicant of achievement may make one especially vulnerable.

Nevertheless, it was the Spirit that “drove” Jesus into the wilderness, where angels ministered to him (Mark 1:12-13), The presence of temptation itself is no failure as long as there is no consent of the will, and the tempted are not alone.

Angels protect us from demons, and that includes temptations to sin. Only in heaven will we know the exact way that the angels have served us.

A Sufi Master, Abdullah Ansari, said, "If thou can walk on water, thou art no better than a straw. If thou can fly in the air, thou art no better than a fly. But if thou canst resist temptation, thou can conquer the universe." Genuine power, real strength, comes from resisting temptation by God's grace.

A Tweet from Lent: Journey to the Desert (hashtag) 40 days of temptations, beasts and angels. Thank you very much, Holy Spirit.

Amen.

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