The theme of Lent 1 deals with sin: origin, continuation, and conquest. In our Old Testament lesson, we have the account of the first original sin through the yielding to temptation. In the Gospel Jesus succeeded in overcoming temptation. In the Epistle, we are told that sin is conquered through Christ. The theme is carried out in the Prayer of the Day by reference to “the wilderness of this world,” a wilderness of temptation. The refrain in verse 4a of Psalm 130 refers to the solution of sin as in the Epistle – “forgiveness.” The Hymn of the Day is appropriate in that Luther refers to “though devils all the world should fill…one little word can fell him.”
Is the Devil real? He is very much alive. The evidence of temptation and wickedness confirms his existence. For Jesus, the devil was a reality in the wilderness experience. The origin of Satan is not the question. Our problem is overcoming Satan’s temptation lest we sin.
Collects for Monday before Ash Wednesday: Father, Your love never fails. Hear our call. Keep us from danger and provide for all our needs. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
Collect for Tuesday before Ash Wednesday: God our Father, teach us to cherish the gifts that surround us. Increase our faith in You and bring our trust to its promised fulfillment in the joy of Your kingdom. Grant this through Christ our Lord. 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; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Collects for Lent 1: 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.
Lord God, our strength, the battle of good and evil rages within and around us, and our ancient foe tempts us with his deceits and empty promises. Keep us steadfast in Your word, and, when we fall, raise us up again and restore us through Your Son.
Monday, 3 March 2014—Psalm 91:9-13; antiphon, Psalm 91:15-16—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.
Tuesday, 4 March 2014—Psalm 32:1-7—key verse, 7a—The Psalm appointed for this coming Sunday is an exuberant proclamation of the happy and blessed state of those who experience God’s forgiveness. Blessed…Blessed. Repetition underscores—are forgiven…are covered…does not count against him. Repetition with variation emphasizes and illumines. Paul will pick up on this theme in Romans 4:6-8.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014—Genesis 3:1-21—In the Old Testament lesson, we learn that yielding to temptation is a sin as Adam and Eve yield to temptation. Before temptation, the human person was good, in fact – perfect. He said, felt, and did no wrong. This is God’s intention for the human family. In God’s sight, this is what it means to be human. Since the fall of humanity, he constantly yields to temptation and sins to the point of total depravity – sin permeates his whole being. Because of this, he needs to be redeemed and reconciled to God that he may live as he was originally created.
Thursday, 6 March 2014—Romans 5:12-19—In our Epistle lesson, sin’s solution is the one man Jesus Christ. Through one man came sin; through another man came righteousness.
The solution to sin is death. The solution is Jesus, the one man who lived perfectly, who died redemptively.
Through this one man, grace came to humanity, and with grace came life. Through Jesus, humanity has the restoration of its original state; righteousness and innocence in perfect accord with God.
Friday, 7 March 2014—Matthew 4:1-11—In the Gospel lesson, temptation to sin can be conquered as Jesus overcomes temptation in the wilderness. Jesus was “tempted by the devil.” If Satan is the author of temptation, why do we pray, “Lead us not into temptation?” In this petition, we pray for strength to withstand temptation.
Saturday, 8 March 2014—Psalm 46–Tomorrow’s hymn of the week is LSB #656, “A Mighty Fortress.” This Psalm is a triumphant confession of fearless trust in God, though the continents break up and sink beneath the resurging waters of the seas, though the creation itself may seem to become uncreated and all may appear to be going down before the onslaught of the primeval deep. In verses 4-6, we have a description of blessed Zion – a comforting declaration of God’s mighty, sustaining presence in His city.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau,
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS