getting out the WORD

the first sunday in lent

the PRAYER …

Lord God, our strength, the struggle between good and evil rages within and around us, and the devil and all the forces that defy you tempt us with empty promises. Keep us steadfast in your word, and when we fall, raise us again and restore us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING …

Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Matthew 4:1-11

the DEVOTION …

It’s such a simple sentence … “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” And yet, there’s so much there. Not in the words themselves, but in what we bring to the table. Our preconceptions. Our presumptions. For myself, the word ‘devil’ conjures up a whole lot of ghosts from Halloweens-past! Red leotard. Cape. Pitchfork. Pointy tail. And, of course, the mask. Goatee, horns, evil and sneering. Looking, pretty much, like the mascot of my alma mater! (Go SunDevils!) But when you get down to it, that’s not much of a temptation, not when you know you’re being tempted. But what if the devil was more … well, respectable …

What if he – or she – is someone we look up to? Someone we admire? Popular? Powerful? Rich? Someone confident and strong? Who looks good and dresses even better? Someone we want to become? More role model than adversary. More friend than slanderer. Someone who’s, say, an angel of darkness disguised as an angel of light! A lucifer and not simply, not merely, a satan? Now, THAT, I’d say, is a real temptation!

Bob Barndt, pastor

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