March 10, 2019: Taking Turns This Lent: Turn Down

First Sunday in Lent

“Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Lent is not often pictured as a race, but these words from Hebrews fit well with some of the ways we talk about the season. Lent is the season to look to Jesus once again, to refocus on him and the cross that he took up. It is the season of repentance, or in other words, a time to get back on track and turn again to the ways of discipleship. So as we “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” on this Lenten track, this bulletin back series will encourage us to take many “turns” along the way to be closer to the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

Right after his baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil. He was tempted with abundance, power, and protection—very desirable things for us all—and did not waver. Jesus was true to himself in the wilderness, just as he would prove to be through the rest of the gospel. In the first test, Jesus turned down the opportunity to make bread for himself. In fact, he would not make bread at all until it was for others when he fed five thousand. In the second test, he turned down power over an earthly kingdom and would continue to do so as he invited everyone to a heavenly kingdom instead. In the third test, he turned down divine intervention to save himself, just as he would turn it down when he was hanging on the cross.

Simply put, Jesus will be Jesus, no matter what is put in front of him. Thanks be to Christ!

How can we take this turn?

What distractions and temptations do we need to turn down to follow Christ more closely? What lies, messages, things that others tell us, or things that we tell ourselves do we need to turn down in order to be true and authentic to ourselves? What else needs to be turned down so that we can hear the voice of Jesus?

Dan Miller, pastor, Edgeboro Moravian Church
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania