First Sunday of Lent – March 6, 2022
First Sunday of Lent – March 6, 2022
“If you are the Son of God…”
Vs. 3 & 9
Twice the devil challenges Jesus’ identity. The first time comes as the devil takes advantage of Jesus’ hunger. The deceiver-in-chief sets before Jesus a satisfying temptation: His hunger would be solved if he simply used his divine authority to make bread out of the ever-present stones (vs 3). The second time comes as the devil takes advantage of Jesus’ promised protections as the Son of God: Surely the angels would not let any harm come to him (vs 10-11)? Jesus turns aside both challenges to his identity as the Son of God by quoting Scripture itself back at the devil (Dt. 8:3 & Dt. 6:16)
The devil lays a third temptation before Jesus: the kingdoms of the world and all their authority in exchange for Jesus’ worship of him. This temptation does not issue a challenge to Jesus’ divine Sonship. The challenge comes against his human identity. Rather than teasing him into exercising his divine authority, the devil puts before the very human possibility of glory and authority in this sinful world (vs 6). The price, worship the lord of this world, the devil himself—that is, the Father of Lies. Jesus turns this challenge aside with another quotation from scripture (Dt. 6:13).
The lectionary connects Jesus’ time in the wilderness to his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. On Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, Jesus admonished against public displays of piety and against the accumulation of worldly wealth. On this, the First Sunday in Lent, Jesus is tempted to display the piety of his divine Sonship or to claim earthly authority and glory. Both sets of texts address the hiddenness of the divine life for Jesus and for the Christian. Both sets of texts caution against the rewards available in this world in favor of the treasure of the world to come.
In like manner, challenges come against your identity, your identity as a Christian. “If you are a Christian, you would love me… If you are a Christian, you’d support my charity… If you were a better Christian…” The challenges come and, like Jesus, you turn them aside with the promises received from the Word of God handed over at the pulpit, the font, and the altar.
Table Talk: Discuss the various challenges against your identity as a Christian.
Pray: Father, hold me secure in the promise of your Word. Amen
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during 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 will 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 command his angels concerning 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 put the Lord your God to the test. 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.