March 1, 2009 - Invocavit (The First Sunday in Lent)

Today's Reading: St. Matthew 4:1-11

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

And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.’” (St. Matthew 4:2)

In the name of Jesus. Amen. The devil, the tempter and accuser, always seems to ask questions that make us question God’s promises. He did it to Jesus, and he does it to you too, doesn’t he?

If you were really a child of God, would you live like you live? Would a child of God give in so easily into temptation? Would a child of God do that sin? You know the one, don’t you? Questions that cause doubt and despair are the devil’s tool.

Then the doubt. Children of God shouldn’t do that. So what do we do? We look to ourselves to fix it! We think, “I’ll just do better, work harder, try again.” Left to ourselves, the devil’s beaten us again.

What we need is a savior. We need someone to rescue us from our sins. One who didn’t fail when tempted. One who didn’t fall. One the devil didn’t beat.

That’s what we have been given! We have the sinless Son of God. You and I may fall into temptation every day--daily and much. But Jesus didn’t. Then we try to work our way out of it. He never did. He never had to. He lived from His Father’s words alone. Jesus was tempted and He was faithful to God.

There’s the Gospel! Jesus counts His faithfulness as your faithfulness. He suffered and died--the punishment you deserve.

Everything that the devil has on you, everything that he can rightly accuse you of, Jesus has taken upon Himself! His death to sin is your death to sin.

The next time the devil plays his games with you and points his accusing finger at you, direct him to Jesus: “Why does a child of God do that? Take it up with Jesus, devil. He died for me. He rose for me. He lives for me. He’s washed my sins away in His Blood. My baptism is what makes me a child of God. His Supper is my food and drink. I’ll trust in the Words and promises of God. I don’t have any sins for you to accuse me of doing. Talk to Jesus. He took them all away. You got a problem with me? Take it up with 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 Invocavit)