First Sunday of Lent: The temptations – throw yourself off the roof, God will look after you!

Homily Notes. Matt 4:1-11

The devil features strongly in today’s Gospel.

Notice his ability to take Jesus to Jerusalem and make him stand on the parapet and take him to a high mountain and show him all the kingdoms of the world … Interesting.

The first temptation – change these stones into bread.

Jesus replies: “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

These are extraordinary words because Jesus has been fasting for forty days and forty nights yet he stresses that God’s Word is as important as our food!

So let’s look at our relationship with food because Jesus is using it to teach us. Most likely we start with breakfast, have something at lunch time, and something in the evening – and if you’re like me … it’s complicated!

How long do we go without sitting down to God’s Word? Could it be said by any stretch of the imagination that we ‘eat’ God’s Word?

We need to hear – really hear – God’s Word so that we’re responding to God rather than a God who is nothing more than our projection.

I’d like you to take a very close look at the second temptation. It’s the temptation to jump off the parapet – self harm and suicide – on the basis that God will look after us because God’s Word says so.

Jesus doesn’t deny that God will look after us – he says “you must not put the Lord your God to the test.”

The third temptation is just as interesting because it suggests that the kingdoms of the world and their splendour – the wealth of the world – are not in God’s control but in the control of the devil who is therefore able to offer it to Jesus and presumably others too.

Isn’t that very interesting – in a world where God is blamed for starvation!

Jesus answer is even more telling; life is found not in the pursuit of worldly wealth but in the pursuit of God.

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