"Suffering Temptation" Sermon / Luke 4:1-13 / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Sunday March 10th 2019 / Season of Lent / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Sunday March 10th 2019: Season of Lent / Luke 4:1-13 "Suffering Temptation"
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, He was hungry. The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered Him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 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. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him,
“It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’”
And he took [Jesus] 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, for it is written,
“‘He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. The Sacrament of Baptism is not magic, it’s not some superstitious incantation that makes you glow when evil comes around. Neither is it a mathematical equation with variables, sums and probabilities requiring Analytical Procedures to understand. While all Sacraments contain mystery there are perfectly plain and simple things that can be grasped by young and old, by the undereducated and the overeducated.
For some the simple thing that St. Peter teaches in 1 Peter 3 is a real conundrum because they think, “It can’t be that simple.” But it is. This is the part of Scriptures where Peter says, “Baptism, which corresponds to [the account of God saving Noah and Noah’s family from the flood back in the book of Genesis,” now saves you,” “Baptism now saves you” St. Peter continues to explain that Baptism now saves you “not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to Him.”
In today’s Gospel reading Jesus has not yet suffered death at the cross, He has not yet been laid to rest in His stone tomb, He has not yet been raised from the dead by the love of His Heavenly Father, Jesus has not yet ascended into heaven to sit at His Father’s right hand with the angels, authorities, and powers subject to Him. No in today’s Gospel reading from St. Luke we hear how Jesus was 40 days alone the wilderness. Jesus is in His state of humility, and very important to us today, this period of 40 days of wandering followed by His temptation in the wilderness comes immediately after Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan River. A Baptism that was necessary for the fulfilment of all righteousness, which is to say it was necessary for Him to do not for the removal of sins, Jesus had no sins to remove, but for the preparation of the waters of Baptism for you. In His Baptism Jesus was preparing the way for you in your Baptism: the Older Brother blazing a trail, making a way ahead for you to follow.
So while Baptism now saves you, Baptism does not spare you from temptation. Jesus was not spared from temptation following His Baptism and you are not spared from temptation following yours. But take heart, where we fall into temptation and daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment, Jesus did not sin in the face of temptation winning for us forgiveness in place of eternal punishment. By His perfect faith in His Heavenly Father Jesus withstood “all the flaming darts of the evil one.” And even, as “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” the great dragon was busy twisted God’s Words in Jesus ear, just as he had twisted them in the garden with Adam (and Adam’s bride Eve) at the beginning of time, here in our Gospel Reading we see Jesus succeed in the face of His temptations where Adam and Eve failed in theirs, where we fail in ours. Jesus’ victory over the temptations of the devil and the flesh are, in Baptism now your victory over the devil and the flesh.
St. Paul says as much when he writes to the Roman Christians saying, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned … [even so] the free gift [of grace] is not like the trespass. … For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man [Adam], much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore,” St. Paul concluded, just “as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Jesus resisted the temptation to sin in the wilderness indeed all through His life. He is hungry after fasting and the devil comes at Him with his first temptation saying, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus could have made the stones into bread, but He didn’t. What does St. John say of Jesus? John says, “all things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” So if Jesus wanted to make stones turn to bread He could do it, and it would not have been a magic trick, with nothing up His sleeves Jesus could have made fresh hot loaves of bread out of the stones, indeed even out of thin air He could have produced loaves to eat just as He made all things in creation, but He did not. No Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And if we pop over to the Gospel of St. Matthew we hear the other part of what Jesus said to the devil, quoting the Old Testament Jesus answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Does the devil give up after one temptation? No even Jesus was faced with three temptations. Twisting Scripture a third time Jesus’ adversary took Jesus out of the wilderness to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and came at Him again saying “If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here, for it is written, “‘[Your Father] will command His angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike Your foot against a stone.’” This is a temptation to push your luck as it were, to test God, to test the love of God through recklessness, again for every time you have lived in a reckless fashion Jesus here resists that very temptation and in your stead, in your place, Jesus succeeds where you have failed, where I have failed, giving as a free gift to you and me His grace and forgiveness. To this temptation Jesus very cleverly quotes back Scripture from the Old Testament in Isaiah 7 saying, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ This very passage from Isaiah that Jesus quotes also includes a promise of the coming Saviour “the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (which means, God with us). Therefore, no matter how alone you might feel in your own wilderness of temptation; No matter how reckless your life has become or had become in the past or may become in the future remember Jesus is with you: In your baptism Christ Jesus, Immanuel, God is with you. And no matter how many times you have failed and buckled under the temptations of the flesh, under the temptations of the devil this same Jesus stands with forgiveness in His nail pierced hands for you.
Now there was one more temptation recorded here in this section of the Gospel of St. Luke where in his second temptation, “the devil took [Jesus] up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 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. If You, then, will worship me, it will all be Yours.” And what did Jesus say in return? Again quoting Scripture from the Old Testament Jesus said, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’”
‘Bend your knee’ Satan says ‘and I will give you all your heart desires, misuse what God has already given to you, for you are hungry, surely there is some justification for all the sins you have committed some quote unquote “good reason,” push your luck and live recklessly. If God really loves you He will recue you.’ Jesus for His part never bent His knee to the Devil rather we find that Jesus in fact, “emptied Himself, [being born in the likeness of men, taking the form of a servant. Jesus] humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This Jesus is the very Word of God that “has gone out in righteousness, a Word that shall not return” [empty].
And in Baptism this is the Jesus that you have been sealed into. You have been baptized into Jesus; Jesus has not been baptized into you. Which means, what belongs to Him belongs to you: His victory over temptation is now your victory over temptation: Daily you lose battle after battle but the war is won at the cross. You face your battles “one day at a time,” knowing that on That Day, in the wilderness, tempted by the Devil Jesus won the battle of temptation in your place. Knowing that on That Day of Good Friday Jesus won the War against Sin, Death, the Devil, the World and even over our sinful flesh and every temptation. You have been baptized into His crucifixion and on That Day you have been washed clean in His shed blood and you at your baptism you have been baptized into His Easter morning resurrection also. Notice it is Jesus who does the saving. You are not saving yourself. Baptism now saves you, and in Baptism you have received the gift of grace and forgiveness and mercy. The gift is yours even if you have not thought about it much; the gift is solid and true and will hold firm even if you have not leaned on it much. Baptism does not spare you from temptation but when you are experiencing temptation run back to the waters of your baptism and remember that in your Baptism all the good gifts of God are present there and they are yours.
Backed by your Baptism, standing on the rock of Christ Jesus, and His victory over temptation, listen then to these words from St. James, where in Holy Scripture James says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and [God] will draw near to you.” Resist the temptations of the devil with the Word of God, in prayer trusting that Jesus has you covered and will forgive you even if you have misused God’s gifts, even if you have bent your knee to the Devil, even if you have tested God and His love.
In our Offertory today we will sing “create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me, Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the Joy of Thy Salvation and uphold me with Thy free Spirit.” These are words of returning to God and even so they do not say, “I have created in me a clean heart for You O God,” no by the Holy Spirit we pray to God to do the work, we says to God “create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me,” and so it is for each of you Baptised into Jesus, it is God who turns You back to Himself. Here we use God’s Word from Psalm 51 to beat back the Devil and his temptations. But we also heard in Romans 10, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” The mouth to confess this and words are a gift from the Holy Spirit. Therefore dear Christian, do not be stubborn, live life with enjoyment, have joy in what is already yours; don’t live your life like the gifts of Baptism aren’t yours when they are yours in Christ Jesus. Don’t live your life like the gifts of God has given you aren’t yours when they are yours in Christ Jesus. Listen to the Holy Spirit as He points you to Jesus: Listen to the voice of Jesus He calls you back to the Father, Listen the Father for He loves you and gives you Grace and Mercy and forgiveness in His Son. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 1 Peter 3:21
1 Peter 3:22
 Romans 10:9
 Ephesians 6:16
 Revelation 12:9
 Romans 5:12, 15-19
 John 1:3
 Matthew 4:4 quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, “And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
 Isaiah 7:12, But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.”
 Isaiah 7:14
 Matthew 1:23
 Deuteronomy 6:13–15, “It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by His name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and He destroy you from off the face of the earth.”
 1 Samuel 7:3–4, And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve Him only, and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only.
 Philippians 2:7–11
 Isaiah 45:23
 James 4:7–8
 Romans 10:9