March 6: The First Sunday in Lent

The Rev. Joseph Peters-Mathews is the vicar of St. Hilda St. Patrick. The sermon for Sunday, March 6, 2022, was preached extemporaneously based on the notes below in response to Luke 4.1-13.

  • Every year, Matthew, Mark, Luke, 1 Lent ? On our own spiritual journeys back to the font to renew promises
  • On our own journeys back to Jesus, as Jesus discerns his ministry after baptism
  • Luke gives genealogy, Adam and Jesus are called Son of God
  • Evil force comes to tempt Jesus, in repetition of Adam’s temptations
  • “The Scriptures variously characterize the power of evil in the world: tendencies within ourselves; a personal being outside ourselves, apparently a powerful angel gone astray; a cosmic power; and organized forces arrayed against the will of God for the world.” [1]
  • Jesus is temped for things that are already within his reach: 
  • food, before he should have it, all realms of the world, before he will get them, control over the heavenly host — before it’s the appointed time
  • Temptation is what is in our power; it’s taking the short cut with good intentions
  • Offers to rise, not fall; 
  • no one plans to lose everything when they give in ? 
  • it’s a byproduct, the fine print
  • Rush in to unilateral war vs seeing how international community
  • Trying to become more like God before the appointed time — created in God’s image 
  • Jesus, the new Adam, reverses these temptations
  • Doesn’t eat before he’s supposed to, but relies on God and scripture
  • Knows that all the dominions of the world will be his if he follows through with his mission
  • Will defeat death itself for all of creation, if he doesn’t tempt it early
  • Jesus wins! He short circuits our failures and replaces them with his successes.
  • Lenten journeys are renewing our baptismal promises
  • Clearing away anything that keeps us from getting closer to Jesus
  • Jesus’ defeat of the slanderer today — “If you are the Son of God” — is more than us making it through these journeys
  • We fall. The world falls. 
  • “Luke sees all the kingdoms of the world as somehow belonging to the devil. This does not mean that all that is in them is bad. But it does mean that as a consequence of sin the present world is ordered in satanic fashion. It is a world of injustice and oppression. 
  • Such oppression and injustice are not merely the result of the will of the oppressors, or of exploitation by the powerful; they are the result of evil’s dominance over all of creation as a result of sin. The devil has the power to grant kingdoms…When Luke and the other evangelists claim that the devil has the power to grant all the kingdoms of the earth, they are simply acknowledging what we can see by simply reading the newspapers.” [2]
  • Jesus has restored that. 
  • Jesus gives us power to look to him, not to ourselves, to avoid the good intentions and wait and work for the long game.
  • War…from “racial reconciliation” to “racial justice” to looking at ripple effects
  • More than scolding us for failing our fasts if we have, we’re looking at the big game and picture
  • Jesus overcomes Satan and the temptation, looking to him, we can too
  • With God’s help, which we renew at the vigil

[1] Craddock, Fred B.. Luke: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (p. 55). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.
[2] Gonzalez, Justo L.. Luke: Belief, A Theological Commentary on the Bible (Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible) . Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

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