First Sunday in Lent

by Matthew B. Harper

1 Peter 3:18-19: For Christ also suffered for the sins for all… in order to bring you to God. … In which he also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison.

Christ first became known at his baptism. It should come as no surprise to any Christian that right after he made himself known, he was tempted. It always seems to be the way the world and the devil works that as soon as we try to step out in God, or to make a change for the better, that we are challenged twice as much

In times when we feel that we are struggling for a good cause, it is reassuring to think of Christ’s suffering. It is true that Christ suffered in his innocence, and we suffer in our guilt; but suffering is suffering no matter the cause. Christ bore the temptations, and all of his later suffering, in the same way: with the word and will of his father.

If you are fasting this lent, then today is coming at a time when you are feeling the loss the greatest. If you are taking up new holy habits, then today is still a day when you need special encouragement to keep it up. Whatever your need, find the strength in the same place Christ found it, in the Word and Will of God.

And if you suffer, know that the suffering is nothing new to Christ, and that all of our purpose comes through his suffering. It was only after Christ went through the temptations of the Devil that he began his earthly ministry.

“Almighty God, make speed to help thy servant who are assaulted by manifold temptations; and; as thou knowest their several infirmities, let each one find thee mighty to save; through Jesus Christ thy Son out Lord. Amen” BCP166

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