Reflections: The First Sunday of Lent

February 26, 2023 

Today’s Reading:
Matt. 4:1-11 

Daily Lectionary: Gen. 4:1-26, Mark 2:18-28 

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, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (St. Matthew 4:3-4) 

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The meaning of the First Commandment says that “we should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” This can be hard to do. Especially when we think we know better. 

Isn’t that how it works? The Lord God speaks and we say, “Well, yeah God, BUT…” And away we go into sin and selfishness. It never ends well, does it? There are so many times we want God to do things our way. Or we try to tell God to do things our way so that we can triumph over some challenge all by ourselves, just like a grown-up! 

The root of Satan’s first temptation of Jesus is the desire to supplant God the Father for another authority. It isn’t just about food and hunger, but who provides what you need to live. Satan wants Jesus to assert His power and authority as the Son of God over the power and authority of the Father. 

After all, how does God the Father, who is spirit, know what it is like to be hungry? How can the perfect and Almighty Lord of all creation understand what life is really like here on earth? 

In Jesus, of course! Jesus lives your life and suffers your pains and eventually dies your death so that he can sympathize with you and know exactly how rough your life can be. Because Jesus knows how difficult life can be, God the Father also knows. They understand your struggles and challenges more than you know, and can indeed hear your prayers with full knowledge of their implications. 

When you aren’t sure if God hears your prayers, or knows how rough you have it, remember Jesus in the wilderness—that He set aside His power and glory to walk in your shoes, to live your life for you, and to die your death so that you won’t have to suffer without him for all eternity. 

Jesus lived and was tempted for you so that all of these challenges you face might be washed away in his blood, buried in his death, and left behind in his resurrection. All of it is for you, that you may be at peace in him. 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 Lent 1)

-Pastor Duane Bamsch is the Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, CA  and the President of Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.