Summary: Sermon for the 1st Sunday in Lent, Year C, 2013
Luke 4: 1 – 13 / Tempted By The Devil
Intro: A young newly wed was sitting at his desk paying bills when he happened upon the credit card bill. As he scanned through the charges he noticed one particular charge to a department store for $250. He called for his wife to join him. When she entered the room he asked her, “How could you do this? What on earth did you buy for $250?” “Well,” she said.. “I was standing in the department store looking for a dress. Then, I found myself trying it on. It was like the Devil was whispering to me, “Gee, you look great in this dress. You should buy it.” “Well,” the young husband answered. “You should know how to deal with the Devil! Just tell him, ‘Get behind me, Satan!” “I did,” retorted the wife. “But then he said it looked great from the back too!”
I. Today we reflect on the temptations of Christ, and on the role of temptation in our own lives. In this story the devil has a “come-on line.
A. VS. 3 – “The Devil said to him, ‘If you are the son of God.” In Greek the phrase is ei huios ei tou theou It can be translated in 2 ways: IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD OR SINCE YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD.
B. At the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the voice of God tell us the question of whether or not Jesus is the Son of God is answered for us. WHAT KIND OF SON WILL HE BE?
C. We are also sons and daughters of God. We belong to God. We are all God’s children. The question often posed to us by the Devil is “WHAT KIND OF CHILD OF GOD WILL WE BE?”
II. The devil’s challenges to Jesus are not to do bad things. They are things God has promised in scripture.
A. VS. 3 – “Tell this stone to become bread. Feed yourself. Take care of yourself first. I’m going to get mine first.
B. VS. 6 – “I will give you all their authority and splendor.” You don’t have to work for it. I’ll give it to you. Take the easy way. “I’ll take whatever shortcut that is available.”
C. VS. 9 – “throw yourself down . . . God will protect you.” Testing God. “God, if you love me you would . . .”
III. This story is more about the responses Jesus gives to the temptations than it is about the temptations themselves. Jesus knew that what God had lead him through, God would lead him through.
A. These “tests” are to see whether even good things can lure Jesus from a focus on God’s will --- or can lure believers into following a more comfortable messiah.
B. How do we handle the temptations, the “tests” that come into our lives? Do we take the easy way, the short-cut? Do we rely on ourselves more than we rely on God?
C. The Bible tells us that though Jesus refused to turn stones into bread, he does fee the hungry. Though he refused political power, the proclamation of god’s empire of justice and peace is the focus of his preaching and teaching. Though he refused to jump off the temple to see if God would send angels to catch him, he goes to the cross in confidence that god’s will for life will triumph over the world’s decision to execute him.
Conclu: A mother once asked her son, “If we were in a store, and Dad and I were in one aisle, and you were in another aisle, and there was candy, and the devil said, “You should take come!” What would you say back to the devil?” The son smiled and without hesitation he replied, “Oh! I would say thank you.”
Temptations come to all of us. What will you say when tempted by the devil?