|The Temptation of Christ in the Desert|
The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, March 1, 2020 — First Sunday in Lent
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Psalm 32; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11
The central ideas for this first Sunday in Lent are temptation, sin, right and wrong, and how we respond to each. The familiar story of the temptation and sin of Adam and Eve is no less relevant today than when it was first told, and Paul uses this story as a primary foundation for his doctrine of Christ’s atonement for the sins of humankind. The psalmist sings of the joy and relief of forgiveness, which comes from acknowledgment and confession. Finally, driven into the wilderness by the Spirit and armed with only God’s word, Jesus confronts temptation at the end of his forty days and nights of fasting without yielding to it.
(based on Genesis 2, 3; Psalm 32; Matthew 4)
Holy One, we are constantly bombarded with temptations and enticements. When we yield, when we fail, who will help us? You, Lord, have come to our aid. You teach us, counsel us, and guide us in the ways we should go. We rejoice in your unfailing love. Amen.
(from the Book of Common Prayers)
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
(based on Psalm 32)
We keep silent before you, Lord—we are afraid to confront our transgressions; we are terrified to face the reality of our sin; we feel as if the weight of the world were upon our shoulders; we no longer recognize ourselves or what we have become as we keep our failings and fears inside. Help us admit our sins and accept our imperfections. Why is that simple act so difficult for us? Why do we hesitate, knowing that you stand ready to wash away our guilt? You are the sanctuary where distress cannot reach us. In your steadfast love, forgive us. In your healing caress, cleanse us. In your Holy Spirit, restore us. In the name of our Savior, we pray. Amen.
Words of Assurance
(based on Psalm 32)
When distress and anxiety surround us like an angry flood, our pleas are heard. The Lord hears the prayers of a faithful heart. God has become our hiding place, our refuge from trouble. No harm can touch us here. The Lord wraps us in the arms of salvation. Shouts of deliverance enfold us.
Prayer of the Day
Lord God, our strength, the struggle between good and evil rages within and around us, and the devil and all the forces that defy you tempt us with empty promises. Keep us steadfast in your word, and when we fall, raise us again and restore us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Eating of the tree of knowledge
2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Mercy embraces us
1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Death came life comes
5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
(based on Matt. 4:4)
Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
The temptation of Jesus
4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Here end the Readings
Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
(based on Romans 5)
The Tempter appears to us in many guises and always in the manner to which we are most vulnerable. We know right from wrong, yet we become complicit with the Tempter when we use the word of the Lord to justify our disobedience and transgressions. Yet in Christ, our sin is overcome with a single act of obedience to God: one just act has brought acquittal and life to all.
Though we were condemned, we have found pardon. Though death held dominion over our lives, God’s grace and gift of righteousness now lives and reigns within us. We are free. We are forgiven. We are alive in Christ! Amen!
Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]
The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Daily Lectionary for SUNDAY, March 1, 2020 — First Sunday in Lent
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Psalm 32; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11