Jesus Defeats the Devil
These are the readings for the First Sunday in Lent.
God’s Word for This Week
In Lent, we see Jesus go to the cross to suffer and die for us. Today’s lessons show that when God tests us, and the devil tempts us (every day!), Jesus is our holiness before God. He is also our strength and our example. Jesus says we do not live on bread alone. We live on God’s promises. They come to us in holy baptism, in Holy Communion, and straight from the Bible—the book in which every word is from the mouth of God.
FIRST LESSON – Genesis 22:1-18
Abraham believed God would somehow quickly raise Isaac from the dead. (See Hebrews 11:19.) How did Abraham show this to his servants?
See the end of verse 5. Abraham assured his servants that after he and Isaac worshiped atop Mt. Moriah, they would both come back down the mountain.
Who is the Angel of the Lord?
The Angel of the Lord is God the Son himself. The proof is in verses 12 and 16, where the Angel of the Lord speaks of himself as God. 1 Corinthians 10:4 says that the Angel of the Lord was Christ. This does not mean Jesus is a created angel; “angel” in both Hebrew and Greek means “messenger,” essentially. Even before he became man, the Son of God was the Father’s messenger to us.
By what two unchangeable things, which he said to Abraham, did God encourage us to trust in Jesus?
God both made a promise to Abraham and swore by himself. What could be surer? (See Hebrews 6:18.)
SECOND LESSON – Romans 8:31-39
What do we have to endure, for God’s sake? (See 8:36.)
We get killed all day long, so to speak. We suffer great grief and pain. Paul says this by quoting from Psalm 44:22.
Do we conquer in Christ now, forever, or both? (See 8:37.)
We conquer both now and forever. In all our troubles, we are more than conquerors, not just after all our troubles.
Where is God’s love? (See 8:39.)
God’s love is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Since Jesus lives forever, God’s love for us will never end.
GOSPEL – Mark 1:12-15
Who sent Jesus into the desert to be tempted?
God the Holy Spirit drove Jesus (in overly-literal Greek “threw him out” into the desert). We can take comfort that the devil never tempts us unless God allows it.
Wild animals in stadiums threatened some of Mark’s first readers. What comfort did Jesus’ temptation give them?
When Jesus was tempted in the desert, he too was with the wild animals. He overcame all temptations by the same Word that steadied the hearts of martyrs whom Roman officials fed to lions. No matter how God allows us to be tempted, he will always make a way out for us. (See 1 Corinthians 10:13.)