Matthew 4:1-11 Adapted from The Message (MSG)4 1-3 Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit to be tempted. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first temptation: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.” Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.” 11 The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs. ********************************************
This sermon was giving on an Intergenerational Sunday worship, with children sitting in front adding sound effects
How many of you have seen the movie Frozen II? If you have not seen the movie, it is about a young girl named Elsa, who has a very special gift. (what is it?) In the first movie, we saw Elsa learn to use her gift, and she learned that she her gift could help people. But in Frozen 2, Elsa begins hearing a call, a voice that no one else can hear. (What does it sound like?) From now on, every time I say the word "voice" you make the sound, ok? The voice, comes from inside of Elsa, and she knows that what it wants is for her to go on a journey to a place she's never been before, into the unknown. And even though Elsa knows deep down that if she follows the voice, she will find out who she really is, and how she is supposed to use her wonderful gift, it also seems scary to Elsa. She is nervous about leaving behind everything she is used to- she doesn't want to risk, or take a chance, on losing anything and besides, going into the unknown means that she doesn't know what will happen- that can be a little scary too, right? But even though Elsa tries to ignore it- and even pretend she can't hear it, the voice, wont leave her alone!
Today, we read a story about Jesus going Into the wilderness, Into the Unknown. He also heard a voice- well, maybe his didn't sound like that, but he heard it calling him nonetheless. Jesus heard of felt the Holy Spirit-deep inside of him. God had a very special purpose for Jesus, but to fulfill that purpose, he would have to go to places he had never been before; Jesus knew he had to follow his call on a journey to discover just how strong he was, and how God wanted him to use his gifts.
Do you think Jesus might have been nervous too? I think maybe he was, because he was also human like us. It's normal to be nervous and even scared when we're going to do something new- that happens to all people. There are ways that we can feel less scared- Sometimes, we can pray like Jesus did, and God will help us feel less afraid. Sometimes we can go and talk to the people who are wise, who have helped us in the past- Elsa did that before she went on her journey- she went to talk to the troll, Grand Pabbie, who helps her understand why she might be hearing the voice, and where she is to go. Do you know people who are wise, or that you look up to, who you can go to when you are feeling scared or nervous about something- who are they? Isn't it wonderful that God puts people in our lives who we can trust and who encourage us?
Elsa's journey was long- and many things happened to her that were a scary- many times she had to be brave. But each time she did, she felt stronger. Each time she faced something that made her frightened, or when she went forward on the journey instead of turning back, she asserted who she was- and she grew more and more into who she was meant to be! And finally there was a time when she had to go into the hardest part of the journey all by herself. Even though her sister Anna wanted to go with her, Elsa knew that she was the one being called for this special purpose- after all, the voice came to her- not to Anna. But when the hardest part of the journey came, Elsa was ready- and she knew who she was, and how she could now use all of her gifts to help the whole world! Wow- I'm glad Elsa listened to the voice, aren't you?
Jesus also had a very difficult journey Into the unknown. And he didn't have his sister with him, but he did have his parent with him- Jesus called God his father, even called God, Daddy- and God, was with Jesus on his journey. So when the he faced something really scary, or something that tempted him want to turn back and give up- Jesus didn't run away or go home. In the story about Jesus, something called "the devil" tempted Jesus. But the devil in the story is not a man in a red suit with horns. The devil just means something that wanted to stop Jesus from doing what God wanted him to do. But Jesus knew a secret. Jesus knew that the power of God was way more powerful than anything- anything! Can you think of very powerful things? God is more powerful than all of them- and God is more powerful than any devil, or anything that tries to stop us from doing what God wants us to do.
And Jesus was so smart, every time he got tempted to do something that would stop him from living out who God called him to be, you know what he did? He stood up with his hands on his hips and said "no way!" He was so hungry in the wilderness, but when the devil offered him bread you know what he said? "No way!- God is more powerful that anything!" And something about standing up against temptation made him realize who he was- a child of God!!! So when the devil said, "Ill give you lots of money- you being really rich" and that tempted him, he remembered who he was and you know what he said? "No Way! And You better knock it off devil- you're not supposed to tempt God- and God lives in me!" And Jesus grew even stronger- and then guess what? When the devil wanted to give him all the power in the world, make him king of the world if he would just turn back, guess what Jesus said? "No way! God is more powerful than even the whole world- Now beat it devil! get outta here! " And then Jesus knew what his purpose was- he knew how to use his gifts- he knew that he could teach people about how to love God and love each other without food or money or the power of the world- He could show people how to heal, and serve, and comfort and forgive, just by doing those things himself- he could teach people how to follow God's voice- God's direction and call in their own lives, and let God lead them into their own unknown. He knew he could help people one at a time, and teach all of us to do the same.
Who knows they have a gift from God? Some of you might have even heard a voice- ok a call from God. And if you have, talk to someone about it. And if you haven't heard God's call yet, that's ok- God still loves you more than anything- and I promise you if you listen you will hear God's call and feel God's spirit in your life. God has a plan for each of us... and loves us, no matter what.