Well, I’m back again on one of my irregular forays into lectionary blogging. I hope visitors in the meantime have found value in the links to other people’s lectionary blogging found in my sidebar.
It’s not hard to find a theme in this week’s lectionary texts, nor to imagine why those are the texts for today. I think the Romans passage ties the theme together nicely, and if I were to teach this myself, I’d probably start from that point.
Paul tells us that one sin made everyone into sinners, and thus one obedient man, or one act of obedience (carried throughout his life) could make us right with God again. Our texts simply point to the pieces of the puzzle. In Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, we have the original temptation and fall. Here the first couple are placed in the Garden of Eden, but directed away from the tree. Yet they eat in any case.
In Matthew 4:1-11, we have the opposite effect. Note that in Matthew 4:1, it is the Spirit that leads Jesus into the desert to be tempted. Even more so than Adam and Eve were directed away, Jesus was directed into the test so that he could pass and show that he would reject divinity, improperly offered. Adam and Eve were human and wanted to be gods. Jesus was God and accepted humanity (Phil. 2:5-11).
The final element of this puzzle is Psalm 32 which, in my view, connects us to the other two. It describes guilt, repentance and forgiveness. It is repentance, a turning to God and away from evil, that allows us to be incorporated into the family that Christ represented in his act(s) of obedience. Lent is not just about the fall and redemption. It is about us becoming part of that new family of faith, incorporated into God’s family, established by the obedience of Jesus Christ.