Peter makes a stunningly clear and bold confession. You are the Son of God, having the same character and nature and power as God the Father. You are the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one of God who will save His people from their sins. Jesus is exceedingly pleased and praises Peter while at the same time making it clear that anytime a person declares the truth about Jesus they have been enabled to do so by God through His Holy Spirit. Have we made this profession? Can you say this out loud in sincere faith with all your heart? Then know this, that is the hand of the living God in your life. God has touched your heart and opened the blind eyes of a sinner.
Let me remind us where we are in our Lenten series since we took a break from it last week and the week before seems like a two months ago with all we have been going through. We have been looking at Satan’s attack on Jesus through three temptations in the wilderness. After 40 days of fasting, Satan goes straight for Jesus’ stomach and urges him to turn some stones into bread. After all the Son of God has the power and certainly should not have to suffer and go starving. But Jesus answers, “Man shall not live by toilet paper alone, but by the Word of God.” That’s my loose translation of the Greek. But actually it isn’t so far off. We don’t live by what we think we need most, we live by what God says we need most, the substance of His Word. Then Satan decided to tempt Jesus with Scripture and quoted from Psalm 91 to get Jesus to jump off the church steeple and show His glory when a legion of God’s angels rush down to save Him and keep Him from suffering. But Jesus has some better verses about not being tempted to tempt God. So third time is charm, right? Satan pulls out all the stops, loads both barrels, pushes all the chips in. This is the big one.
In our first email to you on Friday we listed three Psalms, Psalm 46, 91, and 121. I recommend them to you again and encourage you to mediate on them. Let me read Psalm 91 and focus on one verse primarily. For several weeks we have listened to the words of man. We have listened to the collective ramblings of a thousand talking heads. In times like this it is good to limit the words of man and increase the words of God. I am here to proclaim to you the true and eternal Word of the living God Himself. He has spoken to the particular needs, issues and concerns that face us today.
Last week we looked at the first temptation of Jesus. The first temptation called into question the Father’s care, provision, love and goodness. Take matters into your own hands, the Son of God should not be starving. It was a appeal to weakness, to intense hunger after 40 days with no food. Satan knows our flesh and our weaknesses and he is always trying to exploit them. But that didn’t work with Jesus. One characteristic of Satan is he is nothing if he isn’t relentlessly persistent. Just because Jesus won the first round, means nothing to him, there is no quit in Satan. If he failed once, he comes right back to it again and again. You can never let your guard down. Never think that if you dodged one bullet there won’t be more.
For several weeks now we have considered Satan’s attack on what God has said in His Word. Satan started his attack in the garden and has been relentlessly doing so ever since. So, it comes as no surprise when the second Adam comes to earth Satan is right there ready to attack again. This morning we start our Lenten series of sermons considering Satan’s greatest attack of all, his attack against Jesus and we begin with three sermons on the three temptations of Jesus and how they apply to us. I will draw a number of observations from our text and then show how it applies to our coming to the Lord’s table this morning.