THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT - Series B
21 February 2021
O Lord Jesus Christ, You lead Your ancient people through the wilderness and brought them to the Promised Land. Guide the people of Your church that following our Savior we might walk through the wilderness of this world toward the world that is to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
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” (Genesis 22:6, 9). Then God stayed Abraham’s hand and provided “for himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8). That Lamb is God’s own beloved Son, Jesus, in whom “all the nations of the earth” are blessed (Genesis 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.
Our Triune God
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege
“…the Spirit [was] descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:10,11)
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity should be regularly expounded—or at least pointed out. Consider three reasons for this. First, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity permeates both the Old and New Testaments, the basis of all preaching. Second, in our Lord’s Great Commission, as recorded by Saint Matthew, the very Name by which we are blessed in the foundational Sacrament of Holy Baptism is the Name uniquely identifying the Holy Trinity. Are we not enjoined then to teach the meaning of the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? Third, as we unitedly confess the “catholic” (universally believed) faith, we cannot merely recite the three Creeds—they must be explained! In the Athanasian Creed we confess with all Christians: “Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith…And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.” We cannot properly confess what has not been explained to us.
There is much rich theology and application surrounding the Baptism of our Lord, certainly not the least of which is the clear presentation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. In this account no one can confuse one person of the Trinity with another. The Son is in the Jordan River; the Spirit descends upon Him in the form of a dove; the Father speaks from heaven. They are separate, distinct persons.
Most every student of Scripture will readily identify the Father in the account of Christ’s baptism to be God. However some deny full deity to the Son of God. Yet, how can the Son of God redeem mankind if He is not God [e.g. Is 43:11]? And when the Father identifies Jesus at His baptism as His Beloved Son, even the Jews of Jesus’ day understood this to mean that Jesus is God. They said of Jesus that they were ready to execute Him because He was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God [Jn 5:18]. Jesus is clearly equal to the Father with respect to His divinity, less than the Father with respect to His humanity [Ath. Creed, 31]. And what about the Holy Spirit? He is God’s Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, and yet His is not a mere emanation. He is a distinct person—identified as such at Christ’s baptism. He uniquely creates sanctification and life, things that only God can accomplish.
At His baptism, the man Jesus is obviously at the center of the Father’s and the Spirit’s attention, for it is in and through the incarnate Son of God that salvation is to be wrought. Even as the Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, brooded over the water at the world’s creation, so now He broods over the waters at Christ’s Baptism to give life to fallen mankind through the Christ. The Son of God, who is identified as God’s Word, is the One through whom the Father is calling forth a new world, even as through the Word everything was made at the beginning. As there was chaos and darkness at the beginning, so once again the Holy Trinity will call light out of darkness and bring order from chaos. Now the darkness is identified with the evil and fallenness of mankind, and the chaos is the disorder caused by Adam’s fall. The beloved Son of God, conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit, is now following His Father’s will—heading to the cross and empty tomb so He can, by redeeming this creation, make all things new.
In our worship we usually begin and conclude with a Trinitarian invocation and benediction. When the pastor absolves, he invokes this sacred name. We also stand when a hymn concludes with a doxological stanza praising the Holy Trinity. We do such things in worship to repeatedly direct all honor to the true God—the only source of creation, salvation and sanctification. We also do it because we are identified with and linked to the unfathomable blessings of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—because we each have been baptized into that sacred Name.
The Baptism of Jesus
Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη εἰς τὸν Ἰορδάνην ὑπὸ Ἰωάννου.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
καὶ εὐθὺς ἀναβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος εἶδεν σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα ὡς περιστερὰν καταβαῖνον εἰς αὐτόν•
And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν• Σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.
And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son;[a] with you I am well pleased.”
a. my Son, my (or the) Beloved
The temptation of Christ in the wilderness
Καὶ εὐθὺς τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτὸν ἐκβάλλει εἰς τὴν ἔρημον.
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
καὶ ἦν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τεσσεράκοντα ἡμέρας πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ, καὶ ἦν μετὰ τῶν θηρίων, καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι διηκόνουν αὐτῷ.
And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
Jesus Begins His Ministry
Καὶ μετὰ τὸ παραδοθῆναι τὸν Ἰωάννην ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,
καὶ λέγων ὅτι Πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ• μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ.
and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;[b] repent and believe in the gospel.”
a. the kingdom of God has come near
The first commandment is so critical. To follow it, we must fear, love, and trust in God above all things, which includes our own self.
MORE INFORMATION DOES NOT EQUAL BEING MORE INFORMED
In this age of "information overload," everyone seems to think we are more informed nowadays, what with 24-hour news, social media, and real time communication. However, what we are missing is perhaps just how CONTROLLED that information now is. The news is much more biased, and computer algorithms are swayed, such that, the information each of us receives is only that which someone else has decided we should receive. For instance, when you do a "google" search, the results you see are based on algorithms set by you own personal internet usage. What you see is based on your own biases. Not everyone has the same search results show up. Not everyone sees the same advertisements, or the same posts, or the same "news." You could say we are actually being manipulated by our own habits. That's a scary thought, and it's being played out right in front of us all on a daily basis!
Adam's temptation was to doubt the Father's promises and to become his own "God." He was tempted to question, "did God say?" and was promised, "you shall not die...for God know that in the day you eat of it you will be...like God..."
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘Satan tempts Jesus’© WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
LCMS Lectionary notes © 2018
Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis