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Lent 1 Notes

by pastorjuhl ~ February 4th, 2008

The first temptation in Matthew chapter 4 is against gluttony. Satan tries to plant a seed of mistrust in our Lord’s ears. The second temptation is against vainglory. Satan is presumptuous to ask Jesus to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple, misquoting Scripture. The third temptation is against avarice. It is sheer apostasy for Christ to bow down to Satan.

These from Pius Parsch, “The Church’s Year of Grace”:

“Christ leads the way as a penitent and a soldier…. Psalm 91 takes a prominent place in the liturgy. The Psalm describes a terrible battlefield. Yet God’s heroic army fears nothing; each soldier is divinely protected and angels guard their paths. Deep trust in God takes the place of weapons…. Our strongest weapon is the Most Holy Savior Himself.”

Luther from his Table Talks:

“There is a picture of the Church in the temptations of Christ in Matthew 4. First, the Church was tried by poverty and persecution under the Roman emperors. Second, by heresies, for Christ was not led into the temple but above the temple, that is, beyond the Scriptures. Third, by wealth and power under the popes.”

Justin Martyr:

“For this devil, when Jesus went up from the river Jordan, at the time when the voice spake to Him, ‘Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee’ is recorded in the memoirs of the apostles to have come to Him and tempted Him, even so far as to say to Him, ‘Worship me’; and Christ answered him, ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'” (Dialogue 103:6)

“For when He became man, as I previously remarked, the devil came to Him – i.e. that power which is called the serpent and Satan – tempting Him, and striving to effect His downfall by asking Him to worship him. But He destroyed and overthrew the devil, having proved him to be wicked, in that he asked to be worshipped as God, contrary to the Scripture; who is an apostate from the will of God. For He answered him, ‘It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’ Then, overcome and convicted, the devil departed at that time.” (Dialogue 125:4)

“The greatest commandment is : Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve, with all thy heart, and with all thy strength, the Lord God that made thee.’ (Mark 12:30)” (Apology I:12,6)

“My son, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation.” (Sirach 2:1)

Shepherd of Hermas

Then the Shepherd returned, and said to the virgins, “Did you offer him any insult?” “Ask him,” they said. I said to him, “Sir, I was delighted that I remained with them.” “On what,” he asked, “did you sup?” “I supped, sir”, I replied, “on the words of the Lord the whole night.” “Did they receive you well?” he inquired. “Yes, sir,” I answered. (Similitude 9:11,8)

Rhabanus Maurus

(Jesus) took this testimony from Deuteronomy. If anyone therefore does not eat of the Word of God, the same shall not live; for as the human body cannot live without earthly bread, so the soul cannot live without the Word of God. A word is said to proceed from the mouth of God when He makes His will known through the Sacred Scripture.

St. John Chrysostom

For it was the intemperance of the stomach that drove Adam from Paradise, and provided the Flood in the days of Noah, and sent thunderbolts against Sodom: “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

How are we to overcome this wickedness? As Christ has taught us; by turning to God: so that we shall never give way because of hunger, placing our trust in Him Who can feed us with a word; never, even in the enjoyment of the good things we have received, let us tempt the Giver, but being satisfied with the glory that is on high, let us attach no importance to the glory of men, and turn away from what is beyond our present needs.

St. Augustine

Why did He allow Himself to be tempted? That He might as our Mediator help us to overcome temptations; not alone by assisting us, but also by His example.

Blessed Johann Gerhard

The entire life of Christ was one of contesting against temptation…. Christians, as soon as they are welcomed and accepted as children of God through Baptism, also must be subjected to the devil’s temptations. (Postilla 222)

Our first parents had eaten from the forbidden tree against God’s command. What they had destroyed with their eating, that Christ wanted to once more atone for and make right by His fasting. Consequently, Christ died for our benefit – even though He Himself is the Prince of Life, the Tree or Timber of Life, and the Tree of Life. Thus He fasted for our benefit, since He, of course, is the living Bread which comes from heaven; and in Whom is the overflowing fullness. (Postilla 223)

During times of such temptations we should by true faith encase and surround ourselves with the divine promises of the Word; and we should realize that it is not because of temporal fortune or misfortune that one determines who is a child of God. Instead, we should all the more realize and know that God chastises His most beloved before others…. Bread in and of itself does not nourish us. Instead, it is the might Word of God in the bread which sustains us. (Postilla 225-226)

The devil takes great pains to bring things to a point where a person would overstep the bounds of the divine Word and one’s calling on account of pride and presumption…. It is called “tempting God” if one wants to test His omnipotence, wisdom, and truth when it is not necessary and no promise has preceded it…. What the devil omitted, we should add on from Psalm 91; namely, that God wants to protect us with His angels if we live according to His ways. That is to say, we have no cause to trust in divine support and angelic protection unless we walk according to God’s way and remain within the confines of His Word and our calling. (Postilla 226)

No temporal, earthly thing is able to establish and instill rest and peace into the heart of man. Only God is able to do it. That’s why if glory, riches, power, and other great gifts are present, then of course the heart must not rely on them, much less should God’s Word be set aside from the heart and eye in order to obtain the temporal. (Postilla 227)

As our poor human nature was conquered through Adam by the devil as he actually besieged Adam with such temptations, so also our human nature has once more become victorious through the Second Adam – through Christ. (Postilla 228)

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