February 18 – First Sunday in Lent
by Pastor Pete Scheele
Read Mark 1:9 – 15
Grace and peace to you as you let God’s will be done in your life, from God our Father, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Welcome to Lent 2018, our focus for this Lenten season is “Thy Will Be Done.” Letting God’s will be done in our lives, as we walk our Lenten journey this year and for the rest of our lives is our goal. During this year’s Lenten journey, we want to talk about how God’s will can be done in our lives and why it’s important to let God’s Will be done in our lives, just like so many people in the past have done, especially we want to look at how Jesus let’s God’s will be done in His life to change our lives for eternity. We started the Lenten season last Wednesday, with Ash Wednesday, when Isaac, the Young man, the son of Abraham, came to talk to us about how God’s will was done in his life, as he became the heir to the promises of God. We are also the heirs of the promises of God and those promises were given to us when we were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
This morning we want jump back into the Gospel of Mark as we read, ‘In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when He came up out of the water, immediately He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.”’ (Mk 1:9 – 11)
In each of our baptism we became the sons or daughters of God. When we came to be baptized, we were sin filled boys or girls, men or women. But when the waters of our baptism, with God’s Word, was put upon our bodies we were washed of all our sins, but they weren’t left in the waters of our baptismal font, no, they were put upon Jesus Christ. Jesus came to be Baptized, not to confess His sins and get prepared for the coming of the Lord, for He is our Lord and He has no sins to confess. Jesus came to take all our sins upon Himself and that was God’s will being done in Jesus life for us. As Jesus came up out of the water the heaven’s opened and the Holy Spirit come down upon Him and His heavenly Father gave Him words of encouragement. “You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.” God’s will was that His beloved Son would accomplish that which we cannot accomplish, perfect righteousness. Jesus gives us the gift of His perfect righteousness as He takes all our sins upon Himself. Jesus’ life was changed from the moment of His baptism and that is true for our lives when we were baptism also. Our baptism changes us from sinners to saints, from God’s enemies to God’s Children.
From the beginning of creation God wanted all of us to live with Him in perfect peace, love and joy, but that can’t happen when there is sin in our lives. Our sins prevent us from being close to our Heavenly Father and living with Him forever, so He had to put our sins upon His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ and so the journey to the Cross began for Jesus carrying our sins. Each Lenten season we follow Jesus on His journey to the cross in remembrance of all that Jesus has done for us so that we can be with Him in God’s Love, peace and Joy now and forever more. The evangelist Mark tells us, “The Spirit immediately drove Him out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And He was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to Him.’ (Mk 1:12- 13)
Jesus began His journey to the Cross of Calvary immediately after being baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit was given to Jesus at His Baptism and the Holy Spirit was with Him as He went into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan for forty days. The Evangelist Mark doesn’t give us any information about how Satan tempted Jesus, just that He tempted Him for forty days, which relates to the forty days of Lent.
Forty days, that’s the period of Lent, not counting Sundays. During your Lenten journey, you will be tempted by Satan not to let God’s will be done in your life or go to the foot of the Cross of Calvary with Jesus Christ. Satan doesn’t want your faith to grow or learn how to trust in the promises of God like Abraham and Isaac did. Satan wants you to trust in your own abilities and not the Holy Spirit working in our lives through God’s Word and Sacraments. Satan wants us to challenge God to do what we want done in our life and not put our hope, trust and faith in what God has and will do in our lives. Satan wants the treasures of this world to be our goal in life and not the promises of God that give us a better world to live in with Him for all eternity. In your baptism, you were given the Holy Spirit to work in your life, just like Jesus. In your life the Holy Spirit is working through God’s Word and Sacraments to give you the ability to resist the temptations of Satan, but you have to let God’s will be done in your life and not let your will, the world’s or Satan’s be in control.
Satan tried all his tricks and deceitful ways on Jesus but Jesus let God’s will be done in His life so that He could save our lives even if it meant losing His own life. In the end, even when there was no one else out in the wilderness to help Jesus He found the comfort given to us by God’s Word, the angels and the animals. For Jesus, this was just the beginning of the battle He would have with Satan during His life here on earth and it wouldn’t end until He had made the full payment for all our sins and risen from the dead on that third day to open the doors of heaven for us and break the chains of our sins.
Our journey in this Lenten season may have just begun but as you let the Holy Spirit work in your life you will find that it will end at the empty tomb in Your Savior’s waiting arms. The battle began when you let the Holy Spirit bring you to faith in Jesus’ salvation, Satan then became your enemy and will try all his tricks and deceitful ways to get you to reject God’s will being done in your life. God’s will being done in your life may not always seem the easiest way or make any sense in our corrupted ways of thinking in this world, but it will take us on the path to heaven and the perfect life, love and peace with God now and for all eternity.
The Evangelist Mark tells us, ‘Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”’ (Mk 1:14-15) The time has been fulfilled and Jesus has made His journey to the Cross of Calvary, the grave and risen again on that third day so that we will know that God’s will has been done for all mankind. The kingdom of God is ready for us to enter right now so repent of your sins and believe in all that God has done for you. That’s the Good News of the Gospel all wrapped in God’s love for you. As Jesus tells us, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” (Jn. 3:16 – 17)
God’s will in your life is to share the Good News, the Gospel with others so that they too will be able to make it through the journey of life we have in this world and end up in a better place, where Jesus will be waiting for us with a smile on His face always. Oh, God’s will might not be for you sit on a mountain sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of God with a huge crowd, but it is to share the Good News that the kingdom of God has come with someone you meet along your journey in this world. Because of your love for God and the Holy Spirit working in your life through God’s Word you can share the Good News with others and who knows how many others will come to know the Gospel of God, repent and believe in the promises of Jesus Christ. This is our journey and it begins and ends by letting “God’s Will Be Done” in our lives, Amen.