Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lent 1: Christ's temptation

The sermon text today was Matthew 4:1-11; the other readings were Genesis 3:1-21, Romans 5:12-19, and Psalm 32.
"Please don't tempt me"--we frequently say this, with various shades of meaning. Ultimately, temptation means anything leading us away from Christ our salvation. In today's reading, Christ is tempted for us; on that day, eternity hung in the balance. Jesus became incarnate so that, as the second Adam, He might conquer the curse brought through the first Adam.

Christ fasts first: 40 days to represent Israel's (who failed) 40 years being tested in the wilderness. So Satan's first temptation aimed at this hunger--but Jesus was aware of His substitutionary responsibility and countered with the Word.

Next: the ultimate miracle opportunity--jumping dramatically from the Temple. Satan misused Scripture; Jesus countered again.

Satan's final try: to get Jesus to worship him. But Christ knew that His glory is heavenly, not earthly. He goes on the offensive, ordering the tempter to begone.

Through all these, He consciously let Himself be tempted, so that He might win for us. We can stand before neither Satan nor God--but Jesus, compassionately, has given Himself for our deliverance. Glorify God incarnate for taking our place! In temptation, remember who you are and whose you are. Hebrews 4--He is our great High Priest, tempted as we are, yet without sin.

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