Bible Readings and Devotion for August 25, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for August 25, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Distractions from our main focus can cause problems. Several years ago I discovered an old time radio program called, “I Love a Mystery.” The main characters of this program are three private investigators named Jack Packard, Doc Long, and Reggie York. Doc always liked action and was easily distracted.
In one story line they had received a $25,000 reward for solving a big crime. That is about $270,000 today. While they were carefully in waiting for their next case, Doc got tired of waiting. He was distracted by the opportunity for a high stakes poker game. In the game he lost the entire $25,000, and then robbed the winners of the money they had won. Then Jack, Doc and Reggie had to escape town fast. The first distraction led to more distraction.
In today’s Gospel reading we hear the account of the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. While in the wilderness he was tempted with three things which could have diverted him away from his mission in the world. Let’s briefly look at each of these.
*The First Temptation. He was tempted to turn stones into bread. His ability to provide free food could have made him very popular with the crowds. But all this would have been a distraction to his mission. He came to announce the Good News, and to live this Good News through his suffering, death and rising from the dead. People would have worshiped the food, and would miss out on being reconciled to God through the forgiveness of their sins.
*The Second Temptation. Jesus was tempted to set aside his role as God and savior. He was offered a role as a powerful political leader, if he would just worship the devil. This would have distracted his mission. The mission of Jesus was to reorient our lives toward our loving creation. Our response to the work of Jesus is to love our neighbor and to love our God.
*The Third Temptation. Jesus was tempted to turn his ministry into a stage show of signs and wonders. This would have diverted his mission toward trying to attract a big crowd through entertainment. Remember, the miracle ministry of Jesus had two purposes. 1 – to show people that he was the Messiah. And 2 – to help people in their times of difficulty.
Jesus resisted all these temptations. Being fully human, he had the ability to be tempted to sin. Being fully God, he faced the temptations for our benefit. We see that he has gone through this ahead of us. Out of his great love for us, Jesus lived out his mission on earth. He taught us how to live. He served others. He suffered and died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sin. Through his rising from the dead he defeated the final power which sin, death and evil held over our lives. He now leads us to follow in his way of faith and service.
Had Jesus fallen for these temptations he would have been distracted from these actions for the human race. The great benefit of God’s gracious plan for humanity would have been cast aside. Thankfully Jesus had no intentions of letting temptation distract him from his mission.
Draw your church together, O God, into one great company of disciples, together following our teacher Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving in Christ’s mission to the world, and together witnessing to your love wherever you will send us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.