Let All The Angels Of God Worship Him
March 1, 2020 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Verse: Matthew 4:1–4:11
Christ Lutheran Church
March 1, 2020
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Let All God’s Angels Worship Him
Then Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil, and after fasting for days and nights he was hungry. And the tempter approached him and said to him, "If you are the Son of God tell these stones to become loaves of bread! But he answered and said, "It stands written, 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil took him to the Holy City and stood him atop the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God throw yourself down for it stands written that, 'He will command his angels concerning you, and in their hands they shall lift you up lest you should strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it stands written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"
Again the devil took him onto a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said to him, "All these I will give to you if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.'"
Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! for it stands written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"
Then the devil left him, and Behold! Angels came and ministered to him.
Adam, the first man, was not the final product! But we learn instead in today’s epistle that he was a “type of the One to come”. (Romans 5:14)
Adam is the type, Jesus is the Perfect Man who lives in holy communion with the Father; and who, “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” in order to conform rebellious man to his own divine image; to make us perfect, whole and complete in himself for as the Lord himself says, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5)
Adam is weak; Jesus strong.
Adam frail; Jesus a Mighty Fortress.
Adam falls at the slightest provocation; But Jesus stands tall under the most contrary circumstances of all.
Today’s gospel shows our Lord being tempted by the Chief Tempter who employed the most alluring temptations known to man. The Serpent did all this when the Lord was at his weakest. But the “weakness” of Jesus is stronger than Satan. It is no wonder then that we worship him as: the Valiant One whom God himself elected who holds the field forever!
Adam who is the husband, the priest of the Garden, and Type of Christ commits a grave sin! He allows the Woman, who is the church, to feed him! (Gen. 3:13)
But Jesus the Holy Bridegroom commits One Great Act Of Righteousness on the cross that accomplishes “justification and life for all humanity”. (Rom. 5:18)
This is the Good News of the gospel, but please remember that the gospel is nothing without the Sacraments; and so our Holy Bridegroom feeds us with his own flesh and blood: once crucified but now glorified; and the church is sated. All is calm, all is bright as she rests in the arms of her Beloved Spouse in heavenly peace.
But of all the beautiful Scripture we hear on this 1st Sunday in Lent perhaps the most intriguing is the last verse of our Gospel: “Then the devil left him, and Behold! Angels came and ministered to him.
Yes, the devil left Jesus but he does not like to leave us!
We, too, are tempted with glittering enticements every hour: the gratification of the flesh; untamed imagination; pride; an insatiable appetite for forbidden fruit and a rebellious streak that, since Adam’s fall, has lodged itself deep into our hearts like a wooden stake – that will be the death of us all – unless we repent! Unless we will turn and “Worship The King All Glorious Above”.
That is the title of the great hymn by Robert Grant who was born in 1779. He was a lawyer by profession, the Governor of Bombay, India and a member of British Parliament. But he was also a Christian and a gifted hymnist who understood the havoc that Adam’s Fall has inflicted on humanity. But also the power of the cross to purify humanity from all sins. All!
In verse 5 he writes:
5. Frail children of dust (that is us)
And feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust (that is Jesus)
Nor find Thee to fail.
Thy mercies, how tender,
How firm to the end,
Our maker, Defender,
Redeemer, and Friend!
Yes, the devil left Jesus and he will leave you too! Memorize the Lord’s words O Beloved Sons of God, and speak them as often as temptation comes your way:
“Be gone Satan!”
And according to Scripture’s own promise if we resist the devil he will FLEE from us (James 4:17) because, you see, like all bullies he only picks on the weak. But with the words of Jesus on our lips “Be gone Satan” we are not weak, but strong as strong can be.
But even more intriguing is the last phrase of the last verse, “And angels came and ministered to him.”
This is commonly understood to mean that after the Lord’s terrible ordeal that angels came to restore him – just like happened later on in the Garden of Gethsemane where St. Luke writes: “And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43)
This no doubt was the case, and God will send his angels to restore you, too!
But the word “minister” also has a another meaning in Scripture. It is often a synonym for worship. We read this of the boy Samuel who lived at the temple and “ministered to the Lord.” (2 Sam. 2:18 & 3:1)
We are doing that now! We have assembled not only to receive, but also to worship The King. To pray, praise and give thanks. And that last matter, “give thanks,” is not something we do only with our words, but also by kneeling at the altar to receive the Holy Supper. Because that word “thanks” in the Bible’s original Greek is Eucharist!
And so the church gives thanks to Jesus. She makes Eucharistia to her God just as she proclaims in the Preface each Sunday. The celebrant calls out: let us give thanks / let us make Eucharistia to the Lord our God.” And the church replies, “It is meet and right so to do.”
And so the church gives thanks to God not only by what comes out of her mouth but also by what goes in: namely the flesh and blood of the Savior once crucified, but now glorified!
He is our Mighty Fortress. “Let all the angels of God worship him!” (Hebrews 1:6) And let us join the chorus now as we engage in Holy Communion with our Lord. Amen.