Reflections: The First Sunday in Lent

Today’s Reading: Matthew 4:1-11

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 4:1-26; Mark 2:18-28


Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)


In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus is tempted three times. Tempted to turn stones into bread instead of relying upon the sustenance of God the Father’s Word. Tempted to throw Himself down to His death instead of dying on the Cross. Tempted to bow down in idolatry instead of fearing, loving, and trusting in the Father above all things. Each and every one of Satan’s lies and empty promises are met by Jesus’ rebuke: “It is written.” It is the Word of God made flesh and the Word He speaks that silences and chases away the devil. 


Jesus is tempted three times. Sound familiar? Adam and Eve were tempted three times as well. Only they failed. They fell. They sinned. They swallowed the devil’s lies. So do we. God’s Word reveals that, like Adam and Eve, we’re tempted, and fall into sin. Not just three times, but daily. We’re tempted by our passions while at our computers. We’re tempted with doubt and despair of God’s promises when we have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. We’re tempted by our pride to live as if God did not matter and as if I mattered most. And like Adam and Eve, we fail, we fall, we sin.


This is why Jesus goes into the wilderness to be tempted, not for His own sake, but for yours. Jesus was tempted three times for all the times we are tempted. Jesus withstood temptation for all the times we fall into sin. Jesus overcame the devil’s lies for all the times we have failed. Jesus was faithful for all of our unfaithfulness.


Where Adam and Eve, and each of us, have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Jesus withstood temptation each and every time for you. 


The battle Satan wages with Jesus in the wilderness is won in crucified victory on the Cross. And in Jesus crucified, all of our temptations, failures, and sins, are washed away in the blood of Jesus. For it is written, “It is finished.” In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.


O Lord God, You led Your ancient people through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide the people of Your Church that following our Savior we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the First Sunday in Lent)

-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.