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Sermon the Temptation of Jesus

Sermon the Temptation of Jesus


Here is my first sermon for my preaching class. It was well received. Feedback would be nice.

Gospel Text: Matthew 3:16-4:11

It is the first day of class. We have heard various rumors or information about what the class is like and especially what the professor is like. Is the professor mean, scary or nice? How do they teach? What are their expectations? However, you do not really know until you actually meet the professor. As you begin to dialogue with the professor you get a better idea of who they are and their expectations for you.

The beginning of the Gospel of Matthew is like that first day of class, full of expectation. We hear the story of Jesus’ birth and his genealogy. There are a lot of expectations about who Jesus is. Has he come as a king or a conqueror? No one really knows for sure. But there are expectations.

Jesus is named and claimed as “The Son of God” at his Baptism. He is then lead into the wilderness to be tempted. As Satan begins to tempt and ask questions of Jesus, this is the first time Jesus speaks for himself. The first time Jesus finds his voice and tells us, who he is. This is where we find out if this Jesus, meets our expectations about who God is.

Jesus is no doubt very hungry from fasting. Satan asks him “Turn these stones into bread if you are the Son of God?” He is the Son of God so sure we expect him to be able to do it. But NO! Jesus replies using God’s word “Man is not fed by bread alone but by every word of God” Jesus’ response takes this offer to satisfied physical need and defies our expectation with the promise of something greater. He offers to satisfy our spiritual need. The kind only God can give. Soldiers in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan deal with a variety of needs, physical, emotional and spiritual.

In a recent, article about Army Chaplain Brian Kane. He notes that there were often long lines outside the chapel with those needing prayer, confession, and spiritual guidance. Although overwhelming, he said, “The source of strength comes from knowing that God called me to be a priest and that Jesus promised that he helps us to carry our crosses and do very difficult things.”

We often settle for less. For the here and now. For the physical and not the spiritual. However, Jesus offers us more.

Satan then asks, “If you are the Son of God, thrown yourself down for the psalmist says God will save you.” Jesus responds with God’s word again, “Do not test the Lord your God” The Jews were expecting a miracle worker and magician. They wanted signs to prove who he was. Even during his Crucifixion, it is echoed. “If you are the Son of God, save yourself.”

Have you ever tried to bargain with God? , “God answers this prayer and I’ll go to church more?” or “If I don’t sin for a week, God will you bless me?” We put conditions on God. God does not want that kind of shallow faith. He wants our obedience. He wants our trust. Trust and faith are given, not bargained for. Trust and faith come with relationship. Joe Kapolyo a Zambian pastor writes “We can trust God for safety as we serve him obediently but, sometimes his will is best fulfilled by having to undergo suffering.” When we put conditions on God we forget about his unconditional grace. A grace so great he went to the cross to show us an example. Not because we asked or deserved it but because he loves us.

Satan then asks his boldest question yet “Look at all the kingdoms of the earth. You can have power over all of these if you just worship me.” The Jews were expecting God to save them and show his mighty hand here on earth. We often expect our politicians to use their power as well, to strong arm and make the world the way they want it.

Jesus rather forcefully tells him to get lost and with God’s word states, “you shall only worship the Lord your God.” If you know any history at all, you know that great leaders and empires come to power and fall again and again. Jesus rejects the devil’s offer of earthly power. A power that will fade and wither away. Jesus came to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus offers us something better than we expected, his kingdom, his reign over heaven and earth. One that is eternal. After all Jesus is the Son of God.

I think the hardest part of temptation is choosing whose expectations we will follow. Will it be our peers, our own, the media or our God? When I was younger and did something wrong, I often thought, “My Mom and Dad are going to kill me?” I knew they were not going To,. But I knew what they expected of me. I knew I had missed the mark. I had let others expectations affect what I did. Jesus being God’s Son knew his father intimately. My parents know me better than anyone else. I want to make them happy and I want to meet their expectations because I love them. I sometimes forget that unlike my human parents, God’s expectations come with a grace that is abundant even when I do not measure up.

However, is not the end of the Jesus story. It is not the last we have seen of Satan. This is still just the first day of class. The beginning. As we get to know Jesus more, I wonder how he is going to change our expectations yet again?

Easter and Our Calling

Easter and Our Calling

Disciples fishing
renzo dionigi
Disciples fishing

Reflecting on Easter, it must have been hard for the disciples to transition from the whole Crucifixion and Resurrection. I mean look at how there were locked up in the room and Jesus revealed himself to them.(John 20) But I don’t think the Disciples quite got it until Jesus met them on the beach and again invited them to ministry. (John 21)

I think what gives me hope is that during times of transition that Jesus comes and re-invites us to Kingdom work, that new call, (yet familiar if you look at him calling the disciples from their jobs as fishermen. Luke 5) the call from the Resurrected Jesus is one that is eternal a call for a new life.

Read the stories in the bible. What do you think?

To Romania and Back in 48hours:Epic Fail

To Romania and Back in 48hours:Epic Fail

My trip to Romania came and went in 48 hours.I went with from friends Rachel and Eric. The trip there was ok until we went to rent the car. We had problems. Basically the car failed to work and we had to pay for a new clutch. BOO!!! Basically all our plans were shot and it was Easter, which meant that our options were limited for alternatives so, we decided to head back home. We walked a lot. We didn’t have the time to take pictures because we trying to make arrangements to get back to Tisovec.

So I Present to you Travel Poetry Challenge. One of the few things good that came out of the trip. We had lots of time to kill on the train. Each poem is based on a challenge and written during our long travels on the train.

A Haiku By Eric

This haiku sucks balls
Big, huge hairy sweaty balls
It’s quite natural

Baseball Limerick By Mark

Mark McQwire
Went for a driver
He was home run king
But Bonds got a sting
With the drugs he did acquire

Acrostic by Rachel

We are the best, the
Happiest, the most
Inspired, the
Tisovec superlatives – and we
Never would have
Even known it without

Haikus about Goats and Sheep
Goats By Rachel

They have square pupils
Little tufty, beards and horns
Devils in disguise

Sheep By Mark

Bah they always say
Wool and cheese and stupid too
Wandering on hills

Thoughts on Red Headed people in General by Eric

Gingers have red hair and so no soul
Thus they want to eat your brains

A rhyming poem about “The Highlander” By Mark

He is Duncan McCloud of the clan McCloud
He likes to scream aloud
When he’s going to chop off a head
Just before bed
Immortal is he
So he can’t flee
From the death that is abounding

4 lines
2 lines about someone you like and 2 about someone you don’t like
By Rachel

What’s not to like about you?
You’re so smug, supercilious , I can’t stand it
You turned down the chance to prove me right
I hope you never get the chance to prove me wrong

An ode to favorite food at the school Bufet By Mark

Oh Hot Dog s horcicou how I love thee
My mouth water when you are with me.

3 lines 3 moments in History by Eric

A friends betrayal, a bloody knife, the beginning of strife leading to a fall.
Two bombs are dropped, a war is stopped, but he world changes forever
A fall day, two towers sway, American Cry and many ask why

Poem about Muppets by Mark

Animal, Boober, Camilla*, Deeter, Ernie, Fozzie, Gonzo, Harold*, Inchworm, Junior, Kermit, Lenny, Miss Piggy, Nigel, Oscar, Pops*, Quongo*, Rolf, Snuffleufagus, Tarantula*, Uncle Deadly*, Whaddaya Say Bird* , The Letter X*, Yorick*, Zeke
*Internet help after the fact

Quote from Kids TV show by Rachel

“It’s so simple, even Ed can do it”
“cause I’m Simple” -Ed, Edd and Eddy

Poem with starting line from a song by Eric

Sheep go Heaven, Goats go to Hell
Scotland is neat because of sheep
Central Europe where they pile their trash in heaps
Budapest Sucks, Tisovec is swell.

Thoughts on Public Transit by Eric

Public Transportation slow and often stinky
But without it I quess we couldn’t travel so far and wide-sky

Random Anecdote from the last few hours by Rachel

Smugglers always keep their shoes on
Our sock-clad feet prove us guileless

Original Song “Old Lady Tailbone”

Original Song “Old Lady Tailbone”

This is funny little song I wrote as a joke for one of my friends. She is always complaining cause her tailbone is out of wack from a accident a long time ago. She talks about it all the time. She is one of the coolest people I know, and she likes the song despite of it making fun of her. Enjoy!!!

disclaimer…I have her permission to post this song as long as I don’t mention her name. So, don’t ask who it is…it will remain an inside joke.