Sat, 29 February 2020
(Gn.2:7-9,3:1-7; Ps.51:3-6,12-14,17; Rm.5:12-19; Mt.4:1-11)
“Just as through the disobedience of the one man
the many were made sinners,
so, through the obedience of the one,
the many will be made righteous.”
And what obedience Jesus shows in His temptations. For He was weakened, “He was hungry” after His forty-day fast in the desert, and the devil came at Him with all his power. But He does not falter as did the first man; He remembers the Word of God and His command. And by His faithfulness the sin of Adam is washed clean.
See how the Lord atones for our sins; see how directly His temptations parallel those presented to Eve. As she is shown the goodness of the food before her, that it is “pleasing to the eyes,” so the devil tempts Jesus with bread that will sustain His life. As Eve ventures to take the food despite the command of God, listening to the serpent’s words: “You certainly will not die!” so Satan would lead Jesus to cast His weakened body down from the parapet of the temple, with the encouragement that the angels will protect Him. And as Eve is seduced by the devil’s promise, “You will be like gods,” so he tries the same promise of power over “all the kingdoms of the world” with Jesus. In the first two temptations Jesus struggles as He will later under the weight of the cross, sweating and bleeding under the devil’s test; but in the third, perhaps with understanding that the end of the temptations is at hand, He now exclaims, “Get away, Satan!” apparently revived – and His words are a most cutting blow to the prince of darkness: “The Lord, your God, shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve”; for it is the great sin of Satan to presume to be as the Almighty God.
And so the prayer of David, found so poignantly in our psalm: “Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense,” is answered And so the sin that has been “before [us] always,” since Adam fell in the garden, is now to be cleansed from our souls. For now the angels do come to minister to Him; and now He begins the ministry that leads directly to the cross and the redemption of mankind in His sacrifice. Now the die is cast for the salvation of our race. Soon the devil will hold no dominion.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "The Chicken or the Egg: The Devil's Riddle" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, lead us out of the desert of sin;
save us from temptation.
YHWH, we have sinned and would drown in our sin except that you come to help us; your Son stands in our stead for redemption as once Adam stood in our place for rebellion, and so by His suffering the temptations we could not endure, cleanses us of all transgression. And so, life comes now to our souls.
O LORD, by your compassion wipe out our offense. Death has reigned among us because of the sin of our ancestor, but more powerful and wonderful is your grace, for it brings acquittal of our sin, removing our condemnation and so making it as if we had never sinned, as if death had never been. Such is the gift your Son imparts.
Sustain your Holy Spirit within us, dear God, that we might remain in your grace and never again turn away from your Word. Cast Satan far from us that we might stand with you, fed always by your Breath of life.