Temptation

Sermon Summary for Sunday, March 5th, 2017 | Respectfully Submitted by Mal Underwood

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Sunday’s Gospel lesson is the temptation of Christ in the wilderness shortly after his baptism. As always, Jesus sets the example for us in how to combat the great deceiver by quoting the truth of the scripture and staying strong in his knowledge of what he is to do as the Son of God.

Temptation – we have all have experienced it and have succumbed to it on occasion.  Worse yet, we may even have been the source of temptation ourselves to lure others into non-Christian behavior. Either way it’s the work of Satan, the deceiver who has been at his evil work forever, wanting to devour us and take us away from experiencing and sharing the love of God in the world.  I am reminded of some familiar scripture that is on point with the Gospel:

Discipline yourselves, be vigilant.  Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith.  I Peter 5:8-9a

This passage is a mirror of Christ’s experience and serves to warn believers to remain on guard at all times so that we do not succumb to lies of Satan; it was true then and will remain so for all time.

When Jesus was baptized God spoke from heaven claiming him as his son with whom he was well pleased.  Jesus knew whose he was, and therefore who he was, and thus what he was to do. He never forgot.  Under the pressure of temptation, we can lose our sense of identity causing us to sin and move away from our daily walk with God. We forget, and it leaves us insecure and vulnerable, prone to trying empty solutions that eventually move us farther and farther away from God and what we are to do as his children.  At our baptism, God claims us as he did Jesus when we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever. We are the beloved children of God, and we are to honor that identity through the worship of our Creator and love of our neighbor.

As Jesus took his baptism into the wilderness to combat the deceiver, we should take our baptism into our world of temptation so that we can be strong and persevere in the way of Christ. We need to remember who we are. We can develop our own personal daily rituals and practices to help keep us mindful of that. Whatever it takes, we must make sure we grow our roots in that identity to find our way in the world with love, peace, security, and hope.  As we go through our daily lives we are to remember whose we are and who we are so that we walk the path of righteousness God has prepared for us to walk.