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Luke 4:1-213 - Would You Take The Crown Without The Cross?

The local sheriff was looking for a deputy, and one of the applicants - who was not known to be the brightest academically, was called in for an interview. "Okay," began the sheriff, "What is 1 and 1?" "Eleven," came the reply. The sheriff thought to himself, "That's not what I meant, but he's right." 

Then the sheriff asked, "What two days of the week start with the letter 'T'?" "Today & tomorrow." Replied the applicant. The sheriff was again surprised over the answer, one that he had never thought of himself. 

"Now, listen carefully, who killed Abraham Lincoln?", asked the sheriff. The job seeker seemed a little surprised, then thought really hard for a minute and finally admitted, "I don't know." The sheriff replied, "Well, why don't you go home and work on that one for a while?" The applicant left and wandered over to his pals who were waiting to hear the results of the interview. He greeted them with a cheery smile, "The job is mine! The interview went great! First day on the job and I'm already working on a murder case!" 

In our Gospel reading this morning in Luke 4 it is Jesus' first day on the job. Immediately he is confronted with three major temptations. And he is confronted with this basic question: Would he take the crown without the cross? 

These are the most basic temptations in life and they form the foundation for all other temptations. I would propose that when temptation comes our way; if we will pause and classify the temptation, we would be able to identify it with one of the three temptations Jesus faced. We will also be better equipped to answer Satan with the words and obedience of Christ. 

This is the first Sunday in Lent. It is a time of in-depth reflection upon the passion and death of Jesus, as well as a period of repentance for both the church and for us personally. Our Lenten journey begins this year with a review of the temptation of Christ. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus spent forty days and forty nights in the Wilderness, to be in communion with God and to reflect upon his upcoming ministry. While there, Satan confronts Jesus. It is reminder to us that goodness is not synonymous with innocence. True goodness comes only after a struggle with evil.

Let's look at the three temptations:

1. Stone into Bread
2. Fall on the Rocks
3. Serve the Wrong Master

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