Bible Study: First Sunday of Lent

The Readings we hear during the Sundays of Lent sound like fine music sung in harmony.  Imagine hearing three singers who blend perfectly and leave you listening in awe.  Harmony is music to ears in the Sunday readings.

The theme for the First Sunday is temptation.  The First Reading is from Genesis 2.  God put the man and woman in the garden after providing for their every need.  God told them specifically not to eat from, or even touch, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The serpent was cunning and planned to tempt the man and woman into doing exactly what God told them not to do.  The serpent lured them into eating the fruit after he told them they would become like God.  That was why, according to the snake, God told them not to touch the tree.  They gave in to the temptation, disobeyed God’s direct command, and sinned.  The lesson is human beings are susceptible to sin and are likely to give in to temptation.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, chapter 9, referred to the sin of Adam.  He told the Romans death entered the world through that sin and continued to be a final reality until Christ was victorious over death through his sacrifice on the cross.  People who follow Christ have been given the gift of eternal life.  The first man, Adam, introduced sin and death into humanity.  Christ, the new Adam, brought forgiveness and eternal life.

Matthew 4 tells the story of the temptation of Jesus in the desert.  The scene follows immediately Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan.  He went into the desert without food or water to purify himself for his mission.  He trusted that God would provide whatever he needed.  Satan tempted Jesus with offers of bread (turning stones into bread), divine intervention (jump and the angels will protect you), and power over all kingdoms (bow down and worship me).  Jesus refused to give in to temptation so the devil gave up and went away.  Jesus was tempted just as were the man and woman in the garden.  He resisted the lure of temptation.  The harmony we hear today is that temptation is real and having faith in Christ gives us the power to resist.  We have the power to make Satan give up on us when we trust God.