Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Our Protection

Our Protection

The gospel text for the First Sunday of Lent is from Luke 4:1-13.  I would encourage everyone to read this again…and to think about these things as we read.

In this text, the devil is tempting Jesus who has been in the wilderness for 40 days.  We can be sure that He was hungry (as we would have been) and ready to begin His God-given ministry.  The devil appears to have known Jesus was hungry, as the first temptation is directed toward the human need for food.  The devil didn’t give Jesus bread, but tempted Him to turn stones into bread. 

The second temptation was a little less “upfront” as it was the devil assuming Jesus wanted more power.  We see in this passage that the devil proved he was a liar and only spoke falsehoods, as he says in verse 6, “To you, I will give their glory (all kingdoms of the world) and all this authority, for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please.  ….Worship me and it will all be yours.”  ((NRSV)  Jesus answered, (verse 8), “It is written, Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”

In the third temptation, the devil attempted to use scripture to tempt Jesus to throw himself down the mountain and say that the angels will protect Him.  This, of course, is a misapplication of the text and Jesus responds that God is not to be put to a test.  At that point, the devil left with the intention of appearing at a more “opportune” time.

Let us look a little more closely at what these temptations REALLY consist of.  All of these three were concerned with the use of Jesus’ power.  Jesus DID eventually feed a multitude of people, ruled the world justly and always demonstrated the ever-present grace and mercy of God to people on the street.  To use this power during his temptation would have been using power in the wrong way. 

When we are tempted (and we always are), do we try to exert power over others?  When we are tempted, do we want attention and praise for ourselves alone?  When we are tempted, do we give in for selfish reasons and not to help others?  Do we always try to get our own way through tempting and threatening others?

Please remember, dear friends, that our everyday demeanor shows people where our hearts are.  We are tempted, but with God’s grace and mercy we are protected and we are forgiven if we slip.

One of my favorite symbols for God’s protection is that of a lighthouse.  The lighthouse shows the way to lost sailors and to us when we feel lost.  The lighthouse is that visual promise that land is near…and God is always around us.  The lighthouses have withstood many storms, similar to what we read about in the text. 



February 2016


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