Christ Jesus Defeats Our Temptation and Saves Us by His Faithfulness
In faith and the fear of God Abraham prepared to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. At the Word of the Lord, he “took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son” and “when they came to the place of which God had told him,” Abraham bound Isaac “and laid him on the altar” (Gen. 22:6, 9). Then God stayed Abraham’s hand and provided “for Himself the Lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8). That Lamb is God’s own beloved Son, Jesus, in whom “all the nations of the earth” are blessed (Gen. 22:18). As the Substitute for all the sons of men, Jesus is driven by the Spirit “into the wilderness” to be “tempted by Satan” (Mark 1:12–13), in order to endure and defeat all temptation. We are tempted by our own desire, which conceives and “gives birth to sin” (James 1:14–15). But this blessed Man, Christ Jesus, remained “steadfast under trial” and He has received “the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). His faithfulness, His victory, and His life are now given to us by His grace in the Gospel.
Collect for the First Sunday in Lent: 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 Ash Wednesday: Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness;
Collect for the Commemoration of St Matthias (Friday, 24 February): Almighty God, You chose Your servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve. Grant that Your Church, ever preserved from false teachers, may be taught and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Prayer for steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and finally come to life everlasting;
Prayer for aid against temptation: O God, You justify the ungodly and desire not the death of the sinner. Graciously assist us by Your heavenly aid and evermore shield us with Your protection, that no temptation may separate us from Your love in Christ Jesus, Your Son, our Lord,
Prayer in times of temptation: Almighty and everlasting God, through Your Son You have promised us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Govern our hearts by Your Holy Spirit that in our daily need, and especially in all time of temptation, we may seek Your help and, by a true and lively faith in Your Word, obtain all that You have promised; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Monday, 20 February 2012— Psalm 91:9–13; antiphon, Psalm 91:15–16—The Introit sets the theme for the day: that, in times of trouble, the Lord is our only sure dwelling place and refuge. The Lord loves everyone who puts his trust in Him, and so He promises, ‘When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.’
Tuesday, 21 February 2012—Psalm 25:1–10—In this psalm, David prays for God’s mercy when he is under attack by his enemies. He asks the Lord to remember His mercy and steadfast love, and not to look upon David’s sins. We do the same when we pray the Lord’s prayer. We ask God to deliver us from evil, and, in praying ‘Forgive us our trespasses,’ we pray that ‘our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor on their account deny our prayer.’ (Small Catechism)
Wednesday, 22 February 2012—Genesis 22:1–18—Our Old Testament reading is a familiar one: the testing of Abraham. When we New Testament believers hear this account, it reminds us of our Savior Jesus. Jehovahjireh—The LORD Will Provide—supplies a substitute for Isaac. The ram is caught by its horns, and thus remains unblemished, the perfect sacrifice. Likewise, the LORD offered up His Son Jesus on the cross to be our substitute. He was the perfect sacrifice, unblemished by the taint of sin.
Thursday, 23 February 2012—James 1:12–18—When we are baptized, it is as if a bull’s-eye is painted on us. The devil will attack us, for he knows that, in Baptism, we are washed clean of our sins, and are made the children of God. When temptation comes, therefore, as it surely will, we must remain steadfast in the faith we received at Baptism. We do this by reading and hearing God’s Word, by daily remembering our Baptism, and by being regular in our church attendance, where we confess our sins and receive absolution and where we receive the Lord’s Supper for the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening and nurturing of our faith.
Friday, 24 February 2012—Mark 1:9–15—After our Lord’s Baptism, the Spirit led Him into the desert to suffer temptation at the hands of the devil. He endured the same temptations as were presented to Adam and Eve in the Garden—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, as the holy Evangelist John names them (1 John 2:16). Unlike our first parents (and us), however, He does not give into temptation, but resists the devil with the words of Holy Scripture.
Saturday, 25 February 2012—The great hymn of the Reformation, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (LSB #656), is our hymn of the day. It reminds us that, though the devil is a formidable foe, one whom we are unable to overcome on our own, he has been defeated by the Word made flesh, our Savior Jesus. ‘Our victory has been won; The Kingdom ours remaineth.’
Pr. Jeffrey M. Keuning, Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Casey, IA and Zion Lutheran, Church Dexter, IA has written this week’s Time in the Word
Ary Scheffer Temptation of Christ 1854
Ary Scheffer Temptation of Christ 1854
Lectionary summary on the front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House