Summary: A sermon for the 1st Sunday in Lent Temptation of Jesus in the wilderness
1st Sunday in lent
"Temptation = Ease"
"And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, ’Man shall not live by bread alone.’" And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, ’You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’" And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; for it is written, ’He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’ and ’On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’" And Jesus answered him, "It is said, ’You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’" And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time." Luke 4:1-13, RSV.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
From Pastor Buchheim’s book, The Power of Darkness, comes the following: "The late Dr. Kent Knutson said "On the Saturday before Easter, I and my family got up early to visit my mother who lives in a small town in Iowa. She is 82 and in ill health. We expect she will die soon. In reality the Knutson family went to see her to say their good-byes. While we were visiting with her, we received the sad news that my sister’s son had a terminal illness.
Late that evening we returned to Minneapolis. It had been an emotional day for us. The next day was Easter. That was a great ’day for the entire Knutson family..Early on Monday morning we took our daughter to the bus so she could return to Luther College. At 1:00 the call came. The bus had overturned and some of the students were injured several had been killed. At first we thought it was our daughter who had been killed. But with in hours she was able to phone to assure us that she was all right.
Kent Knutson concluded this personal story with this insightful observation: "And that’s the way life really is."
Later on in the year, the church were Kent Knutson preached this message replayed the tape of these words, "And that’s the way life really is." These words rang home even deeper as the congregation knew as well as the whole ALC knew that Kent Knutsen was fighting for his life in a Rochester hospital a struggle which he was to loose in a few short months from an incurable illness he contracted while is Asia seeing how the ALC was establishing mission congregations.
"And that’s the way life really is."
Our gospel lesson speaks of the temptations of Jesus as he was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. This was no simple temptation, but a temptation which shook the very foundations of life. As one studies these temptations, one sees that they are really asking the Son of God, as Satan calls him, to take the easy way out, to take a shortcut in life. These trials sought to see what kind of person Jesus really was. What he was made of. Was he really the Son of God who would follow the Father’s plan, or, or would He give in and take the easy way, the less difficult way. As we look at the temptations, we will see how they are really on easy way out, and at the same time we will see how we tempt Jesus in our lives to help us to take the easy way, the less difficult way in life.
In the first temptation the devil asks Jesus to turn stone or stones into bread. As Jesus sits in the desert his stomach is empty for he hadn’t eaten for 40 days, his throat is parched and the devil approaches. Now he wasn’t the horned, red devil with a pitch fork we dream of, no he was more subtle, more inventive, he was the voice of reason, of rational thinking in Jesus life.
He maybe said, "You look like you are having a rough time. By the way, you’re the Son of God, why don’t you turn these stones into bread? Not just for yourself--but for all the starving people of the world. They need you. They need your power. Give them what they want and you’ll be their hero."