Summary: A Lent 1 (First Sunday in Lent) sermon
THE ‘WHO’, ‘WHY’ AND ‘HOW’
OF THE CHRISTIAN’S WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE
The cries on our lips, when we go through certain experiences are: ‘why is this happening to me?’ (with our hands on our head), ‘who is responsible for this?’ and ‘how I can go through it?’ We ask these questions when go through difficult times.
In this part of the world (i.e. UK) where we play the blame game very well, we find somebody in the society and bring him or her out to answer the question- ‘who is responsible?’
In the part of the world where I am coming from (i.e. the global south), difficult circumstances or experiences are often associated with Satan and his demons. Even Christians tend to give much praise to Satan for every difficult experience. People have therefore coined the expression in my country- ‘Satan hasn’t got a lawyer’, since he is blamed every now and then for every situation.
This morning I want to be the Devil’s advocate, as we look at the theme:
The ‘Who’, the ‘Why’ and the ‘How’ of the Christian’s Wilderness Experience
The Gospel of Matthew chapter 4 verses 1 to 11 (i.e. today’s Gospel reading) will help us, as we identify the ‘who’; the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of Christian experiences I will like to call ‘wilderness’ situations. In trying to answer these three questions- ‘who’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the Christian’s wilderness experiences; I will want you to learn 3 Greek words, which will help us to understand the text.
Let us pray:
Holy Spirit, you who led Jesus into the wilderness for a season of testing, we pray that you will lead us this morning as we study your inspired word. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour- AMEN.
Understanding our Text
Many bible versions have this adverb ‘then’ to open the narrative on Jesus’ temptation. The Greek meanings of this adverb ‘then’ (tote, pronunciation: tau-eh in Greek) are: ‘at that time, next, immediately afterwards’ and so on. So, if we could replace the word ‘then’ with ‘immediately afterwards’ we can get the idea that something had happened before this account on Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. The Gospel writer Mark makes us understand the lapse of time from Jesus’ baptism to his trip into the wilderness. According to the New King James Version and many other versions, Mark chapter 1 verse 12 reads: ‘Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness’.
Therefore let us remind ourselves of what happened before Jesus’ trip to the wilderness. He had just been baptised by his cousin John. This baptism was different from the ones John had been getting. This particular candidate had just come out of the water and John (the Baptist) experienced what he had never seen in any other candidate. Verses 16 and 17 of Matthew chapter 3 reads: