The traditional reading for the first Sunday in Lent is the account of how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the Ruler of this World. He can overcome the tests by living out the truth of Scripture and rejecting the lies.
Every year, in a different context, we hear this story, and some aspect of it becomes new and startling. This year, as we watch the Invasion of Ukraine by their Russian neighbors, I’m struck by the words of the Devil in the second temptation as he claims that all the power and authority of the kingdoms and the nations of the World are his. He can bestow them upon whom he chooses. All Jesus has to do is turn aside and worship this ruler, and they will all be his.
But Jesus, embodying the story of God’s Chosen people, remembers their history and can turn aside the temptation. And, truthfully, when you look at all of the temptations, Jesus can turn them aside by remembering the whole story of his people; the Children of Abraham, who were enslaved and oppressed and freed by God.
There’s much more to this, of course, and in the sermon below, I speak about other aspects, the core teaching in this moment in history is that God had and still has the power to save.