Lent 1—Invocabit (Mt 4,1–17)

Photo by Matt Meilner on Unsplash

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

᛭ INI ᛭

((5. Oops!: You don’t listen like you’re God’s child.))

You have ears, bad ears. Ears you’ve inherited from Adam and Eve. It’s not that you’ve inherited bad hearing. Well, you may have… But the bad ears you’ve inherited from Adam and Eve means you have bad listening, you don’t listen like your God’s child.

Your ears, your hearing, your listening works just like Adam and Eve’s did. God speaks a Word, and you don’t listen. We like Adam and Eve have ears for the devil’s word, the temptations he speaks. Eyes and ears turn away from God and His Word: “The woman saw that the fruit was pleasing to the eye, good for food, and was desirable to make one wise.” Adam, too, didn’t listen to the Word of God, but “listened to the voice,” the preaching, “of his wife.”

God speaks. We hear, but we don’t listen. We listen only to what agrees with what we already think. (Confirmation bias.) Is there a Word of God, a Bible Passage, that could actually change our minds on some position we hold? We say, “Of course!” Until we’re confronted with a Word that would challenge us to change what we think or draw us to change what we do. Them how quickly that passage goes in one ear and out the other! Or we marshal other passages or our own thoughts, actions, or traditions, just so we can keep doing what we’re already doing, what we think is good. As it was in Israel, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

((4. Ugh!: You don’t act like you’re God’s child.))

And there we get to the reality that we don’t just have Adam and Eve ears. We’ve got Adam and Eve actions, too! “She took from the tree and ate. She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Just like you don’t listen like you’re God’s child, you don’t act like you’re God’s child either.

We act like children of Adam and Eve. “Fallen Adam’s children learning Lessons fallen parents taught.” (LSB 572:2) We take what God hasn’t given to us to have as a Gift. We view ourselves as more important than others. We want other people’s spouses, or their future spouses. We’ll cheat, steal, be stingy to get more. We’ll put others down to build ourselves up. We covet.

And when we’re called to account by God for our lack of love for others and our lack of faith in Him. We’ll hide from Him the best we can. Using things of this life that He created as a gift so that we can think we’re hidden. Adam hid behind a tree. What do you hide behind? Working. Drinking. Shopping. Eating. Anything to cover our shame.

But when brought to the mat, we’ll play the blame game. It’s everyone else’s fault but our own. Blame the other person, blame the devil, even blame God! “Adam said, ‘The woman that You gave to be with me! She gave me of the tree, and I ate.’ God said to her, ‘What have you done?’ ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” Always “their” fault. “If you hadn’t made me this way God…

“ “If that person hadn’t done that…” And when none of that seems to work, “The devil made me do it!”

((3. Aha!: Jesus does both for you.))

Nothing has changed in the millennia since Adam and Eve. We’re still the same. Same old tricks. Same old actions. Same Old Adam. We don’t listen like we’re God’s children, and we don’t act like it either. Enemies of God and enemies with each other, even those closest to us, and certainly those we don’t want to be close to.

The Lord’s solution to this problem is what Lent is all about! The Lord’s salvation is promised, put into the ears of Adam and Eve. Ears that turned from His Law, “You shall not eat,” were enlivened with the Lord’s first Gospel promise: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall crush your head, and you will strike His heal.”

This promise is all about Jesus. He comes, and He listens and acts like a child of God. In fact, He’s the eternal Son of God, “begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God,” and “also true man, born of the Virgin Mary.” And He is your Lord, and that means He’s your Savior. God the Father announces that this is so: “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus saves by being Adam 2.0. Adam’s ears. Adam’s actions. But not Adam’s sin. “He was tempted in all ways that we are, but yet without sin.” That’s Jesus in the wilderness and all the rest of ahis life, too. He was led out by the Spirit to live the life of a baptized child of God, to live your Christian life in your place. Jesus’ Christian life counts for you. His listening, His doing are all credited to your account—your sins to His.

He listens and lives by “every Word that comes from the mouth of God.” He cherishes every Commandment. They’re His joy! He won’t be enticed to eat at the devil’s prodding. He won’t test His Father’s patience and action in anyway. He won’t be lured into staying away from the cross. “All these I will give you” the devil offers.

Jesus won’t be anything but Jesus, the one who “saves His people from their sins.” He is what His Father sent Him to be. He cherishes that Promise, which for Him is a command: “He will crush your head, but you will strike His heal.” There will be no avoiding the cross. There will be no “coming down from the cross.” Jesus on the cross, there most listening, there most doing all that His Father needs of Him: “Not My will, but Thine be done.”

((2. Whee!: YOU ARE GOD’S CHILD BECAUSE HIS SON SAYS SO.))

Jesus lives a holy life in your place. His holiness counts for you. He is the dutiful Son, faithful Son, “beloved Son.” In Jesus, you are, too! Ears off the devil’s lies.

In yourself, in your flesh, there is nothing but Old Adam. But you aren’t just Old Adam. You are second Adam, too! Adam 2.0. That’s you in Jesus. You’re being God’s child isn’t because of your listening skills. You’re a child of God not because of what you’ve done or haven’t done. You’re being His child isn’t based on the good you do, and you aren’t disowned based on the bad you do either.

YOU ARE GOD’S CHILD BECAUSE HIS SON SAYS SO.

That’s it. There’s no other reason that you’re a child of God other than Jesus said so. He said so at your baptism. In Holy Baptism, you were clothed with Christ, placed into His death and resurrection. “We are all one in Christ Jesus,” all children of God. That happened in Baptism because there God’s name was placed upon you. “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” You were adopted into the family, God, giving you His name. Now, you’re “an heir, having the hope of eternal life.” You’re a “coheir with Christ.”

YOU ARE GOD’S CHILD BECAUSE HIS SON SAYS SO. Baptized. Jesus is your brother now. His Father is your Father. Now you can pray as Jesus taught you, “Our Father who art in heaven.” God the Father “is our true Father and we are His true children,” and “He has promised to hear us.”

((1. Yeah!: You’re in the thick of it now.))

YOU ARE GOD’S CHILD BECAUSE HIS SON SAYS SO. Only because of that. Baptized. But because of that, you’re in the thick of it now. Just like Jesus was. Jesus, the eternal Son, was baptized, where His Father announced for everyone to hear, even the devil, that “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Then, when the Spirit had led Him into the wilderness, the devil was doing everything to get Jesus to deny and go against that Word, that He was the Son of God.

The devil does the same with you. He’ll do anything, tempt you with anything, marshal the whole world against you, entice you with whatever you’ll prioritze before God, all so that you’ll deny and go against your Baptism, your being a child of God. Whatever other identity, what ever other thing is more important to you, it’s all the devil getting you to turn away from your Baptism, to live however you want, to be in his wilderness all alone, so he can devour you. “Make you twice a child of hell than he is.”

But you aren’t alone. That’s just another one of the devil’s lies. He wants you to think you’re on your own. Jesus was that for you: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” That’s what Jesus said on the cross. You trying to fix your own behavior or the behavior of others—talk about a lonely way. The devil lures many off to that way. “Wide is the road that leads to destruction, and many find it” Jesus warns.

But in spite of you and me, Jesus’ baptismal promise hold’s true: “I am with you always, even till the end of the age.” You are baptized, and you are what baptism says you are, what Jesus says you are. You aren’t alone. “You don’t have a high priest who’s unable to sympathize with you.” He knows. He answers prayer.

You aren’t alone, and if you need some strength along the way. Jesus gives you His strength, His life, His salvation, His forgiveness. He gives you His body to eat and His blood to drink. The manna for our journey through the wilderness of this life, this valley of sorrow, and the angels that will join us in heaven, join us now. “Angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven” to sing with us, worship with us, and protect us. “That the evil foe may have no power off us.”

All these promises are true. Listen to them. Believe them! Act on them. Of course you will! After all, YOU ARE GOD’S CHILD BECAUSE HIS SON SAYS SO.

᛭ INI ᛭

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