Readings for the First Sunday in Lent
Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13
Martin Luther’s great hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, describes in frightful detail the Christian’s daily battle against the devil. “No strength of ours can match his might. We would be lost, rejected. But now a champion comes to fight, whom God Himself elected. (LSB 657)”
Sunday’s Gospel reading gives us the battlefield report of how our Savior successfully withstood a 3-stage attack from the evil one trying to tempt our Lord into abandoning his mission. Filled with the Holy Spirit and armed with God’s Word, Jesus proved himself to be our champion over sin. When you face temptation to doubt or disobey the LORD, turn to the One who has promised to hold you up by the power of his victory (Lk 4).
The epistle reading teaches us about the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ and his resurrection victory. This righteousness is available to ALL who call upon Jesus for their deliverance (Rm 10).
In the Old Testament reading, Moses gives instructions to Israel before they enter the Promised Land. This land is to be their inheritance, a free gift from the LORD. After 40 long years of wilderness wandering, it is time to set down roots. Their annual offering to the LORD of the first fruits of the harvest will help them remember where they came from and how they got here – only by the mercies of God. And the same is true for us (Dt 26).