Summary: This sermon compares the temptation of Adam and Eve with the temptation of Christ, relating them both to our temptations today
The Temptation of Eve and Christ (2006)
The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew the 4th chapter beginning at the first verse.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ’Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
Here ends the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
I love the Old Testament reading that Sharon read this morning. For over 1000 years this Genesis text has been referred to as the “Fall.” A true story about how the first human beings were tempted to turn away from their Creator. Just this past Wednesday at the Lenten Service I covered this exact same OT text in more detail.
We talked, well we didn’t talk, I talked about how the serpent raises the all important question about the amount of freedom God has given to us. How we are tempted to make choices and sometimes these choices have no simple answers. I talked about how we sometimes exaggerate the word of God, and then have the audacity to either blame God, the devil, or other people.
We saw with the study of the Old Testament lesson that the so called “Fall” occurred because our lack of trust or faith in knowing that we have a God that knows things we don’t know. Yet, even in our fallen state God still chooses to relate to us not from a distance, but comes and walks in the garden, talking to Adam and Eve.
The gospel lesson of today takes up where Genesis left off, and requires us again to take a serious look at our lives. Notice how Jesus, who comes to our garden of weeds and handles the same temptations of Adam and Eve, of you and I.
The problem with today’s texts are they sound so supernatural, or unreal, so far removed from our experiences of today. Evil ole Satan does not appear to us and transport us from place to place, and the temptations that we experience are often not so clear. However, we of course are all tempted on a daily basis and when we are finished here this morning you will se how real and natural the forces of evil are, and how this story is not at all removed from our experiences of today.
This morning’s message may seem like maybe it’s missing the love and forgiveness so often associated with the gospel. But the fact is, sometimes Jesus challenges us to rethink our position, because of the fact that he does love us so very much and wants us so badly to become more and more Christ like. If you doubt this absolute truth, simply turn, look at the cross and focus on the empty tomb.
First things first, Jesus was a full and a real human being just like Adam and Eve, just like you and me. Think about it. Had Jesus not been tempted, he would not really have been human.
Jesus knew exactly what it meant to face the forces of evil, to be tempted, a universal human experience, and yet he was the only human being ever to be able to defeat these forces. How?
There is something else very important I want you to notice right off the bat, before I go into the details of Christ’s three temptations. In the verses right before today’s text Jesus has just been Baptized and we hear the same words we heard in last weeks text, “This is my Son.” In the very first verse of today’s reading, it says Jesus was led up by the Spirit.