ary_scheffer_-_the_temptation_of_christ_1854-1First Sunday in Lent 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
March 5, 2017
Psalm 32:1-7, Genesis 3:1-21, Romans 5:12-19, Matthew 4:1-11

Sermons online:
Text:                pastorjud.org
Audio:             pastorjud.podbean.com
itunes:             bit.ly/pastorjud

There are a lot of jokes about the relationship of husbands and wives.

One night a man walks into a bar looking sad. The bartender asks the man what he wants. The man says “Oh just a beer”. The bartender asks the man “What’s wrong, why are you so down today?”.  The man says “My wife and I got into a fight, and she said she wouldn’t talk to me for a month”. The bartender says “Oh, that’s tough.”  The man says “Yeah, the month is up tonight”.

Ladies, if a man said he will fix it, he’ll fix it.  No need to remind him every 6 months.

Marriage can be difficult; it is challenging for two people to blend their lives into one.  Relationships are tough.  There are so many forces trying to drive a wedge between you and others and between you and God.

It wasn’t always like this.  There was a time when man and woman got along perfectly with each other and with God.  There was complete harmony between the two each caring for and serving the other; husband and wife in complete agreement trusting God for everything.

God created man and woman for each other and everything was perfect in the Garden of Eden until the serpent slithers in to ask Eve, “Did God actually say?” The Father of Lies asks, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?”  Satan is tricky.  Eve replies, Genesis 3:2-3 (ESV) 2 … “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”[1]

Then the serpent tempts Eve that she can be like God.  Genesis 3:4-5 (ESV)
4 … “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”[2]

Eve is tempted to give up trusting God and so Eve eats the fruit and gives it to Adam and he eats…and the rest, as they say, is history.  Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.

The perfect relationship in the Garden between man and woman and between humans and God is broken.  Adam and Eve were put to the test and they failed.

Later, the children of Israel have been rescued from slavery in Egypt and are being led to the Promised Land.  They have passed through the waters of the Red Sea and are now in the wilderness being tested by difficult circumstances.  The Israelites do not trust God to provide what they need and deliver them to the Promised Land.  The children of Israel are put to the test and they fail.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

You are in the wilderness of life between your baptism into Christ and your entrance into the Heavenly City on the last day.  Life is hard.  There are a lot of temptations.  The devil is forever whispering to you, “Did God really say?” to try to get you to do things that drive a wedge in your relationships with each other and your relationship with God.

Did God really say you can never do anything you want to do?  See, you can disobey your parents.

Did God really say you can never look at another woman?  See, you can have an affair.

Did God really say you have to be poor?  See, you should lie, cheat and steal in order to get more money.

Did God really say you cannot enjoy things in life?  See, you can make those things your idol.

You have been put to the test.  And you have failed.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

After Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan God the Father declared, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”  In our Gospel reading today we find Jesus fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and there is a new voice speaking to Jesus; the voice of the Tempter.  Matthew 4:3 (ESV) 3 …“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”[3]

Does Jesus trust God the Father to provide for Him, or will He take a short cut?  Jesus answers Matthew 4:4 (ESV)  4 … “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”[4]

Jesus answers with a Biblical quote from Deuteronomy where Moses is instructing the children of Israel about their unfaithfulness during their 40 years in the wilderness.

The devil then sets Jesus on the pinnacle of the temple and tempts Jesus to test

God, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written…”.  Now here we see the devil quote scripture.  A good indication that just because someone quotes scripture does not mean they are teaching the truth.

Matthew 4:6 (ESV) 6 … “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”[5]

Jesus again quotes from Deuteronomy about the faithlessness of the children of Israel.  Matthew 4:7 (ESV) 7 … “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”[6]

Finally the devil takes Jesus to a very high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And the devil says to Jesus, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

The devil wants Jesus to take a short cut.  Skip the cross.  Skip the beatings and the humiliation.  Skip the pain and suffering.  Skip all of the hard stuff and go right to the glory of being Lord over all the kingdoms of the world.  Sounds tempting.  Jesus knows what He is facing with torture and crucifixion.  But this is His mission.  The cross is Jesus’ destiny.  The cross is why Jesus came to earth to take on flesh and dwell with us.  Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

    Jesus on the cross will defeat Satan and so the devil wants to stop Jesus from going to the cross anyway he can.

Jesus replies, “Be gone, Satan!  For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.’”

Jesus quotes Moses’ rebuke of the children of Israel in the wilderness as Jesus in the wilderness is the faithful Israel reduced to one…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Peter also tries to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross and Jesus rebukes Peter, Matthew 16:23 (ESV) 23 … “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”  [7]

Even while Jesus is on the cross we hear echoes of Satan’s temptations.  Matthew 27:41-43 (ESV) 41 …the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”[8]

Jesus on the cross will defeat Satan and so the devil wants to stop Jesus from going to the cross anyway he can.  Anyone who wants to stop Jesus from going to the cross is working for Satan.  Now, Jesus on the cross is horrifying.  Horrifying because of what happened to Jesus and horrifying in that He is there because of our sin.  We are tempted to think it was unnecessary; we are tempted to believe there is another way.  We are tempted to want to think that the cross is not why Jesus came.  That he has some other purpose.  But Jesus needs to go the cross.  On the cross we see Jesus’ faithfulness.  Jesus is faithful.

Where Adam and Eve are unfaithful, Jesus is faithful.

Where the children of Israel are unfaithful, Jesus is faithful.

Where you and I are unfaithful, Jesus is faithful.  And the rest is history.  Jesus not only wrote His own history.  He rewrote the history for Adam and Eve.  No longer are Adam and Eve convicted by their failure and sin.  Jesus rewrote their history and now Adam and Eve are restored.  Now they are righteous in Christ.

Jesus rewrote the history for the children of Israel who were unfaithful in the wilderness.  Jesus rewrote their history through his faithfulness of going to the cross.  He has made the children of Israel faithful.  Jesus’ faithfulness rewrote their history.

Jesus has rewritten your history as well.  While you have written a history of sin and guilt Jesus has rewritten your history to make you a saint.  In Jesus you are righteous.  In Jesus you are right with God; you are holy and pure.  Jesus is faithful even to the cross.  Jesus rewrote your history and made you a redeemed child of God.

You can now live in this fallen world as a beloved child of God.  As Jesus has restored you so you live in this restoration in your relationship with others.  Knowing that Jesus has declared you to be righteous you live out life in righteousness.  Knowing you are loved by God you live in love for those around you.

So, for now, relationships are hard and that is no joke.  But you live in relationship with each other and with God knowing that you have already been made holy in Jesus.  Jesus is faithful and has rewritten history for you.  You are holy and righteous.

Amen.

[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[2]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[3]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[4]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[5]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[6]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[7]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[8]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

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