Summary: A sermon for the first Sunday in Lent the Temptation of Jesus
1st Sunday in Lent
"To be tempted"
"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 little boy was once forbidden by his mother to go swimming, but she permitted him to go out for a walk. When he came back, it was quite evident that he had disobeyed her and had gone in the water. When asked why, the little fellow answered,
"Well, Mother, I happened to have my swimming trunks with me, so I decided to go in."
As you can guess our gospel lesson this morning is about the temptation of Jesus. We are going to look at this word temptation this morning.
In our story at the beginning of the sermon, the boy planned to be tempted by the water as he had his swimming trunks with him. So it was easy to give in to temptation as he found himself by the swimming hole. There he was standing by the water, trunks i hand. What was he going to do? He gave in and went swimming even though his mother told him not to.
We are all like that little boy. Sometimes we plan to be tempted, sometimes it just happens.
Guess who wrote the following about temptation:
"I often find I have the will to do good, but not the power. That is, I don’t accomplish the good things that I set out to do, and the evil things that I don’t want to do, I find I’m always doing. Yet, if I do the things that I don’t really want to do, then it is not I, repeat, it is not I that do them, but it is my own nature in which I am a slave to sin and death. It’s an agonizing situation, a constant conflicts and who on earth can free me from the clutches of my own sinful nature?" That was St. Paul writing to the Romans about his own struggle with sin.
Paul says it best. We are tempted to do sin or tempted not to do something. For sin is doing something wrong and as well as not doing something we should be doing. In our order of confession at the beginning of the service we say those things we have left undone to acknowledge those thing we should have done, but didn’t do.
I think Paul said it best, sin is something that affects a person’s whole being. It is not something that can be brushed off very easily. It doesn’t work that way. You know it and I know it. Everyone of us labors under the terrible weight of guilt and sin. We feel guilty about the wrongs we have done, the hurts we have caused others, and at the same time, we feel guilty about those things we should have done, but didn’t do. For example, maybe we needed to apologize to someone, but were too proud. Or, maybe, we couldn’t express forgiveness to another, because of the hatred that filled our heart. Or maybe, it was the hurt we said to a loved one and after realizing what we had done, we couldn’t or wouldn’t say we were sorry. Or maybe we are guilty of not including the stranger, the new person to town in our circle of friends.
Temptation and sin are all around us. And temptations also has consequences for our lives.