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Summary: A sermon for the 1st Sunday in Lent Temptation of Jesus

1st Sunday in Lent

Luke 4:1-13

"The Dragon"

4:1* ¶ And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit

2* 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.

3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

4* And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”

5 And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,

6* 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.

7* If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.”

8* And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”

9 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;

10* for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’

11 and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

12* And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

13* And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

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

I would like to tell you a story this morning about a dragon.

"There was once a great and noble King whose land was terrorized by a crafty dragon. Like a massive bird of prey, the scaly beast delighted in ravaging villages with his fiery breath. Hapless victims ran from their burning homes, only to be snatched into the dragon’s jaws or talons. Those devoured instantly were deemed more fortunate than those carried back to the dragon’s lair to be devoured at his leisure. The King led his sons and knights in many valiant battles against the dragon.

Riding alone in the forest, one of the King’s sons heard his name purred low and soft. In the shadows of the ferns and trees, curled among the boulders, lay the dragon. The creature’s heavy-lidded eyes fastened on the prince, and the reptilian mouth stretched into a friendly smile.

"Don’t be alarmed," said the dragon, as gray wisps of smoke rose lazily from his nostrils.

"I am not what your father thinks."

"What are you, then?" asked the prince, warily drawing his sword as he pulled in the reins to keep his fearful horse from bolting.

"I am pleasure," said the dragon. "Ride on my back and you will experience more than you ever imagined. Come now. I have no harmful intentions. I seek a friend, someone to share flights with me. Have you never dreamed of flying? Never longed to soar in the clouds?"

Visions of soaring high above the forested hills drew the prince hesitantly from his horse. The dragon unfurled one great webbed wing to serve as a ramp to his ridged back. Between the spiny projections, the prince found a secure seat. Then the creature snapped his powerful wings twice and launched them into the sky. The prince’s apprehension melted into awe and exhilaration.

From then on, he met the dragon often, but secretly, for how could he tell his father, brothers or the knights that he had befriended the enemy? The prince felt separate from them all. Their concerns were no longer his concerns. Even when he wasn’t with the dragon, he spent less time with those he loved and more time alone.

The skin on the prince’s legs became calloused from gripping the ridged back of the dragon, and his hands grew rough and hardened. He began wearing gloves to hide the malady. After many nights of riding, he discovered scales growing on the backs of his hands as well. With dread he realized his fate were he to continue, and so he resolved to return no more to the dragon.

But, after a fortnight, he again sought out the dragon, having been tormented with desire. And so it transpired many times over. No matter what his determination, the prince eventually found himself pulled back, as if by the cords of an invisible web. Silently, patiently, the dragon always waited.

One cold, moonless night their excursion became a foray against a sleeping village. Torching the thatched roofs with fiery blasts from his nostrils, the dragon roared with delight when the terrified victims fled from their burning homes. Swooping in, the serpent belched again and flames engulfed a cluster of screaming villages. The prince closed his eyes tightly in an attempt to shut out the carnage.

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