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The First Sunday in Lent, February 18, 2024

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The First Sunday in Lent, February 18, 2024

We certainly shall live from the words that come from the mouth of God.  Those words are specifically Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God Incarnate.  As the Word of God, Jesus is our life… your life and my life.  While in the wilderness, Jesus faced the devil openly.  During the rest of his days, Jesus faced the devil, the tempter, less openly and through proxies such as the demons and unclean spirits.  As Jesus has the victory over the devil in these three temptations so too does Jesus have victory over the tempter—Satan and his lies.  

The great temptation facing Jesus was that of power.  God revealed to the Apostle Paul that God’s power was made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).  Satan tempted Jesus to use his power to come down from the cross, smite his foes, and save himself.  Jesus, however, endured the cross and its shame… becoming, not only a human weakling but also the weakest of gods.  In that weakness, God’s power was perfected and the victory over Satan won.

So now, you.  The strength of your willpower does not determine your success at resisting temptation… at resisting the lies of the devil… at refusing Satan’s blandishments.  Instead, your success is had in the victory of Jesus, his victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil.  You do not go out into the wilderness to do battle against the tempter’s power.  No!  You receive the victory of Jesus Christ handed over to you from the font, the pulpit, and the altar.  You take that victory out into your own personal wilderness, whatever circumstances the world has delivered you into.  The whole armor of God (Eph 6:10-20) girds you to stand fast… to stand fast in the victory Christ has already won!  Christ, and Christ alone, is the Word of God by which you live.  Just so, your preacher delivers you into the victory of Jesus Christ.  In that victory you already have righteousness and truth… indeed, all the armor.  Standfast and live!

Table Talk:  Explore the distinction between doing battle and enjoying Christ’s victory.
Pray:  Heavenly Father hold me fast in the victory of Jesus Christ that I might have life from the Word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.  Amen

Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread. 4 But he answered, It is written,

Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

He will command his angels concerning you,


On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you strike your foot against a stone.

7 Jesus said to him, Again it is written, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test. 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me. 10 Then Jesus said to him, Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

You shall worship the Lord your God

and him only shall you serve.

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him