Son of God Jesus Goes Forth to War
First Sunday in Lent Trinity Lutheran Church
14 February 2016 Murdock, NE
+Jesu Juva +
Is Jesus the Son of God? Well, is He?
Of course He is. The Father said so at His Baptism in the Jordan River: “You are my Son!” God the Father declared. “I love you! I’m so pleased with you and what you’re doing!” (Lk 3:22)!
And what was Son of God Jesus doing that pleased His Father so much? Hmm? Son of God Jesus was all about doing a Good Friday dying. He had a one-track mind – suffering, death on a cross and rising from the dead on the third day. Johnny One Note Jesus! He is the one and only sacrifice that atones for the sin of the world. Yes, Jesus will pour out His divine blood on the cross – to purify you from all your sin. Son of God Jesus will do what it takes to save you from everlasting damnation in order to give you heaven. The Father loves it! He’s delighted! Just His cup of tea! “Do you see Him? That’s my Son!”
So, Son of God Jesus begins to do the salvation job FOR YOU as He takes on your bitterest and most dreaded enemy. Who’s that? Hmm? Satan! The father of all lies. The murderer from the beginning. Yes, Satan, the fallen angel. The old wicked foe who means you deadly woe. Guile and great might are his dread arms in fight. On earth he has no equal.
Until today! Son of God Jesus fresh from His Baptism goes forth to war! For you and for you salvation fights the Valiant One whom God the Father has elected. There He is. Son of God Jesus! Of Sabaoth Lord! And there’s none other God. He holds the field forever.
You couldn’t have fought this battle against Satan and won. Seriously. No matter how hard you’d try. Faced with the onslaught of Satan’s temptations, you’d fail! Miserably. Colossally. Just like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. You’re their children. Like father like son. Like mother like daughter. You’ve inherited their original sin. Not trusting God to be God for you. Not believing His Word. Not content to be human. Hankering to be little divinities. Just like Adam and Eve.
So FOR YOU and for your salvation the Holy Spirit leads Jesus into Satan’s soil: “the wilderness.” Jesus battles your enemy on your enemy’s turf. 40 days of temptation! Like Israel was tempted for 40 years in her wilderness wanderings.
“If you are the Son of God,” Satan religiously begins, “then be the Son of God the way I say. Trust my words. Trust me. Not your Father. He’s MIA. A deadbeat dad. Where is He? I’m here. I’ll take care of you. I’ll help you. Call me Step-Daddy Satan. You’re hungry. I hear your stomach rumbling. You poor boy! Take care of yourself. Turn this stone into in bread. Your MIA Father hasn’t given you anything. But I will. See all the kingdoms of the world? Worship me – put your trust me just this once and I’ll give you all the world’s immense power and glory. Hey! You’re going to Jerusalem, right? Well, here we are. Here’s how I suggest you do a Jerusalem. Jump off the pinnacle of Jerusalem’s temple. At least the Father’s angels will catch you. They’ll do their duty according to Psalm 91. Be Son of God that way. My way. Get over that Good Friday dying on the cross obsession.”
What will Son of God Jesus do? Live by Satan’s words? Or His Father’s? Be the devil’s Son of God? Or the Father’s Son of God? How Son of God Jesus deals with these delicious temptations is of the utmost importance FOR YOU. Salvation-ly important. Your salvation is at stake by what Jesus does. If Jesus succumbs to the satanic temptations like Adam, Eve and Israel, then you don’t have a Savior and Satan wins. Satan is your lord, not Jesus. Hell is your home, not heaven. If the Son-of-God-Good-Friday-Jerusalem-dying-on-the-cross-bearing-all-your-sin-in-His-Body-Jesus never happens, then all your sin remains on you and you are hellishly damned in your sin!
I’m here to tell you that this is not the case. It’s just the opposite. I have very good news FOR YOU. Listen. Full-of-the-Holy-Spirit-Son-of-God-Jesus does not listen to Satan’s lies. Unlike Adam, Eve and Israel, He lives by faith in His Father’s Word. “Satan, it is written: ‘man does not live by bread alone,” (Deut. 8:3). “Satan, it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only,’” (Deut. 6:13). “Satan, it is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test,’” (Deut. 6:16).
Do you see how Son of God Jesus repels and rebuffs Satan? With the Word of God. Jesus trusts the Word. “One little word can fell” Satan! This is how He goes forth to way against the devil.
Satan retreats. Counts his losses. Licks his wounds. He waits for “an opportune time” … to attack or do battle against Son of God Jesus one last time. A last ditch effort. Throwing everything he has against Jesus! To use the language of you WWII experts: “A Battle of the Bulge”! Perhaps Jesus will grow weary of the Son of God vocation in the way of His Father, ditch His Good Friday on the cross craze, join the dark side, and abandon you to be damned with your sin in a forevermore or never-ending hell.
That final “opportune time” comes. It takes place in Son of God Jesus’ Passion, the last week of His life. When Satan enters Judas to betray His Lord (Lk 22:3). When Satan seeks to sift Jesus’ disciples like wheat (Lk 22:31). When Jesus greets His captors with the words: “This is your hour, when darkness reigns,” (Lk 22:53). When Satan uses the crowds, the rulers, solders and even one of the criminals hanging next to Jesus as his instruments, as his mouth, in order to tempt Him one last time: “Let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One”; “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself”; “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
SAVE HIMSELF? How Satanic! Satan tempts Jesus to get off the cross! Be the Son of God but not a Good Friday Son of God! Again, your salvation is at stake. If Jesus jumps off the cross, He not the Savior and you’re left abandoned to be damned in your sin.
Again, the very good news for you and for your salvation is that Jesus stays put. He is the Son of God – the Good Friday Son of God. He’s not into saving Himself. He’s totally into SAVING YOU! And that’s precisely what He’s done. He died FOR YOU! Salvation is yours. Really. Truly. Certainly.
Now, it’s true, Satan, the world’s prince may still scowl fierce as he will. However, He can harm you none. He’s judged. The Good Friday deed is done! One little word can fell him. And that word is: “It is finished.” Or: “Baptism now saves you,” (1 Pet 3:21) or “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mk 16:16). “I forgive you all your sins,” (Jn 20). Or: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” (Mt 26:28).
With these words of promise Son of God Jesus is by your side with His good gifts and Spirit. Even though Satan, his demons and his comrade the world are all eager to devour you, you tremble not. You fear no ill. They will not overpower you. Satan is judged. The Good Friday salvation deed FOR YOU is done! Oh, yes, Satan and his cohorts may take your life, goods, fame, child or wife. Though these all be gone. Your victory has been won. The kingdom yours remaineth! In, with and under Son of God Good Friday Jesus!
Have a happy Lent!
In the Name of Jesus.