Lent: The Temptationin the Wilderness

Matthew 4.1-11

Also found in Mark. 1.12-13; Luke 4. 1-13 .

The Church celebrates two very important festivals in the year.

One is Christmas the other Easter. There are four weeks of preparation for Christmas which we call A____?

And six weeks of preparation for Easter known as a L___?

It is Lent I wanted to say something about today.

The forty days of Lent remind us of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness.

Let me tell you the story of what happened.

(Ask for two volunteers, male and female, one very young and the other, one of the oldest in the school. The contrast in size can be very amusing. Give the younger one the choice of whether they want to be Jesus or the Devil, and dress the ‘devil’ up using the same resources as in Pack number 16: i.e. horns and mask. They are then invited to act out in mime, the story I tell, mainly the underlined parts. I demonstrate the mime each time. Another child can act as the Spirit of God, and blow Jesus into the desert. Props; a stone, bread)

The Story:

Jesus was driven by the Spirit of God into the desert. (Spirit blows)

And there the devil tried to tempt him.

He handed Jesus a stone, and said to him:-

‘If you really ARE the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’

Jesus turned his back on the devil, shook his head and said,

‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God!’

The devil said, ‘DRAT!’ (snaps fingers downwards)

So next he took Jesus up to a high place, (use a chair) and pointed and said,

‘All this land, all these towns, all these people I will give to you…if you fall down and worship me!’

Jesus turned his back on the devil and said, ‘It is written ,

“You shall worship God and God alone!” ’(points up to heaven)

The devil said ,’DRAT!’ (snaps fingers downwards)

So instead he took Jesus to the highest part of the temple, (use another chair or part of stage) and he said to him,

‘If you really ARE the Son of God, throw yourself down, and God’s angels will catch you! (points downwards to floor, and cradles arms)

Jesus turned his back on the devil and said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test!’

The devil said, ‘DRAT!’ (snaps fingers downwards)

and he left him alone, and angels came to him and ministered to him.

These same temptations can come to us today, just like those directed at Jesus.

The first temptation…to use gifts in a wrong way, to show off and be proud. To use what God has given for ourselves alone, and not to make anyone else happy.

The second temptation…. to run after power, money, possessions, glory, fame.

The third temptation ….to be destructive, to be reckless, to be rash and impulsive, e.g. ‘Go on do it now!’ ‘Say what you think!’ ‘Do whoever you like!’ Don’t even think, just do it. It doesn’t matter who gets hurt!’

If this is the kind of world we build around ourselves, our world won’t be a very happy place to be.

Like Jesus we must pay attention to God’s word, and do what it says.