Year A – Lent 1 – Matthew 4:1-11

First Sunday in Lent
Matthew 4:1-11 – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ‘ Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ‘ Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ‘ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” ‘ Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

Summary – Matthew 4 is the narrative of the 40 days of Jesus in the wilderness, being tempted by the devil. The three temptations listed here are to bread, glory, and kingdom. Jesus was genuinely tempted since he had physical needs, he was to receive recognition and glory, and he was to receive the kingdoms of the world. Jesus always responded to these temptations with the Word of God: It is written, “One does not live by bread alone” – Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” – It is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him. After successfully enduring the temptations then he was cared for by angels. Like Israel in the wilderness Jesus, “did eat the bread of angels” (Psalms 78:25).

Insight – When we are tempted, the reason that it can be a temptation is because there is desire, need, or right for the object of temptation. I am not tempted at all to eat insects. Place them on a glittering tray with a beautiful garnish and magnificent presentation and it still will not be attempting to me. It is when there is need, desire, or a right that something can be offered which provides for a legitimate temptation. This is what Jesus endured. He had physical needs and therefore bread was needed and desired. In the other examples of temptation, Jesus had a right to these things as the son of God and as the world’s true Lord. However, we learn from this that only what is given in God’s way and in God’s time is legitimately received. Jesus  understood that he must endure the suffering set before him to accomplish God’s purpose before receiving the glory and kingdom promised (Dan. 7:13-14). He understood that even his physical need for food (bread) without which humanly speaking he could starve to death, we’re not to be received on the devil’s terms. Jesus was will to receive these gifts only on God’s terms and God the Father provided. The last part of the passage informs us that angels came to minister to him. The bread provided by angels was better than bread the bread of temptation.

Child’s catechism – What is Lent? Lent is a season in the Church Calendar which remembers the 40 days of Jesus in the wilderness.

Discussion – What kind of things do you want now, which if you waited for them, would be better?

Prayer – O LORD, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

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