Summary: A sermon for the First Sunday in Lent Temptation of Jesus series A

1st Sunday in Lent

Matthew 4:1-11


"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered, "It is written, ’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’" Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ’He will give his angels charge of you,’ and ’On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, ’You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! for it is written, ’You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’" Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him." Matthew 4:1-11, RSV.

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

A mother wrote:

When my daughter, Danna, was about three years old, she became fascinated with electrical outlets. One of her favorite activities was working the childproof cover off of the outlet and sticking various objects in it. I was not thrilled with this little game of hers, repeatedly taking her to the outlet and firmly warning, "No! No! It will hurt you!"

She would then look up at me with her beautiful brown eyes and dimpled smile. After several trips to the outlet I thought, "She’s got it!" She did - for two whole days.

I was putting groceries away when I heard her scream from the family room. By the time I reached her, I found a sobbing toddler holding up a tiny burned finger for me to kiss and make better. Even at her young age, Danna had acquired a nugget of wisdom and has never touched an outlet again.

When we give in to temptation the result is always sin. Attached to that sin is the price tag of consequences. Every choice we make - every action that we take has consequences. We can learn from those consequences, hear the message God assigned to them and gain the wisdom that they hold.1

Consequences, temptations, sin these are the ideas which are found in our gospel lesson this morning.

This is the familiar story of Jesus in the wilderness as he fasted for 40 days then was tempted by the devil.

But notice one important part of the first verse of our lesson. It says: "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. It was planned. Jesus knew he was going to be tempted but not how.

Temptations are all around us. We are tempted each day as that little girl in our opening story proved. She stayed away from the light socket for two days, but the temptation to return was just to great.

Do you remember the comedian Flip Wilson. He had a character named Jeraldine who got into an awful lot of trouble. And her reply to it all was "The devil made be do it!!"

Since we live in an imperfect world, temptations are all around us.

And just like Jesus, these temptation may be good for us.

A pastor wrote in a sermon on this subject:

I think now is a good time for us to understand the Biblical meaning of the word "temptation…" It’s means to test or to prove… Therefore, Jesus was led into the wilderness to be "tested" by the devil as a means of proving Himself to God…

My son worked in the steel mill for several years… They would take scrap metal and throw it into a fire and melt it down and form it into rebar &endash; which is used for adding strength in construction & foundations…

As the metal is liquefied in the fire, the weak parts are burned & turned into smoke that goes up the chimney &endash; and after this process, what’s left is the strong, pure metal…

A blacksmith does the same thing… He puts the soft metal in the fire & heats it up &endash; then he takes his hammer and beats the old loose metal off, forming the metal into a work of art &endash; and then he heats it to a desired temperature &endash; it’s a process called hardening… And once the object is removed from the fire &endash; it’s pure & solid & hard as steel…

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