Blue Mountains Franciscan Church
Sermon Preached by Br. Andrew at Maroubra on Sunday February 14th
First Sunday in Lent
In last week’s Sermon we heard how Jesus descended from the mount of Transfiguration to begin the journey of his Exodus from the world. Today which for us is the first Sunday in Lent we find Jesus at the beginning of his ministry being tempted by Satan in the wilderness where he overcomes three different types of real time temptations.
The holy Spirit has led Jesus there immediately after coming upon him at Baptism for a 40-day retreat, why 40 days, the number 40 is a special number in Judaism it represents transition or change; the concept of renewal; a new beginning. The number 40 has the power to lift a spiritual state. Hence we realize the number of days of the flood was a time to renew the earth, to cleanse it and to give it a new beginning. The 40 years spent in the wilderness by the Hebrew’s was to do the very same thing, to cleanse and renew them before they commenced a new beginning in the Land of the Promise.
The 40 days Jesus spends in the wilderness is a time when his spiritual state will be tested, he will be tempted to disobey God by satisfying his own hunger, to achieve his mission on Earth through Politics rather than keeping his Father will and to demonstrate to the Jews that he has mastery over the spiritual realm by tempting his Father to save him from death or injury by sending angels to save him.
Like the Hebrew’s in the desert he faces the want of food but when the Devil says ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’ Jesus has the word of God as his weapon of rebuttal, ‘It is written “One does not live by bread alone. (Deuteronomy 8:3a), Jesus might have concluded the verse but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:3b) Didn’t we also read that Paul wrote. 8But what does it say? ‘The word is near you… on your lips and in your heart’? (Romans 10:8)
O, well so that didn’t work perhaps Jesus really isn’t ‘famished’ after 40 days and nights without food, so the Devil takes him on high and shows him the whole world and offers it to him, as if it was reeally his to give in the first place, I mean really.– Notice it is the whole world and not just Palestine, at least the Devil realises that Jesus’ Mission is to the Gentiles as much as it is to the Jews which must have been one of the things that made him so desperate to stop Jesus’ ministry before it began. Until God in Christ Jesus descended to earth Satan had the whole world as his playground. But really, did he think the Creator was going to worship the created one who betrayed him and was the cause of all of this mess in the first place. These Temptations really reveal how stupid Satan is.
Again, Jesus’ rebuttal is the word of God, if we were to be Mystical we might say that Jesus replied to Satan with his very self as sWord, spelled, ‘ s Capital ‘w’ o r d. ‘It is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”’(Deuteronomy 6:13 )
And last of all ‘Base Jumping with a twist’
There is dispute concerning whereabouts in the temple this pinnacle may have been but I don’t’ think that is important, it was somewhere high enough to cause death or serious injury if one were to jump from there.
So the Devil; takes Jesus up onto the pinnacle of unknown spatial location quotes from Psalm 91 and suggests Jesus jump off to show those below that he is master of the heavenly forces, aka angels who fly to his side to guard him in all his ways.
“It is said “Do not put the Lord your God to the Test” (Deuteronomy 6:16)’ At the pinnacle of the Temple the Devil is finished with his allotted temptations and leaves Jesus until an opportune moment.
Jesus, is now completely renewed and filled with the power of the Spirit, ready for his ministry and returns to Galilee to teach in the synagogues and receives praise from everyone.
Questions on Lent and the Church on Friday
So see you at Bible Study.