26:1-11. (2) Ps. 91. (3) ROMANS 10:8B-13. (4)  LUKE 4:1-13

You might think someone’d  chosen the preacher for  such a distinguished congregation, but in fact it came about by chance, so please accept inadequacy.

It is so easy, it doesn’t feel like temptation at all, to use our positions as Christians, even if not ordained, to make us feel we’re all right, that we have a position.  One Holy Week in a parish, the Incumbent asked me to Concelebate with him, meaning that I stood in vestments behind the Altar with him. And there was this young man unmistakably  looking up with a “that’s where I want to be” look, from behind the altar rails.

Constantine’s official recognition of Christianity in the 4th century gave it more than toleration –  a new status. Dr Margaret Barker, of Temple Theology,  scholar of the Intertestamental period, notices that the vestments of  Orthodox bishops are  recognisably similar to those of the High Priest in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Jesus himself was not a priest in the Temple. The  priesthood  all believers  share with him,  is the Royal Priesthood after the Order of Melchizidek (see Genesis and Hebrews).

In Luke’s  Gospel for today Jesus himself is tempted to perform signs and wonders,  to exalt his own status. Jesus resists, and the devil leaves him for the moment, until an opportune time.   We know that God works for good in all who love Him, but we are not to use that to  make ourselves  comfy, dignified or distinguished, let alone powerful.

God  shows this  every moment and opportunity. But,  God does not use his almighty power to control what happens to the people and  world He created in love.  Instead he works that good may come out of what happens.  He is like a good parent, who gives  children freedom  to make their own decisions.

Like the mother in Dewsbury bus station,  who keeps calling out THE BUS IS COMING to her little boy who runs from one set of railings to another swinging himself round and round on each one.  What that mother doesn’t do is  to make him STOP AT ONCE AND STAND QUIETLY BESIDE HER.  She doesn’t  insist in controlling her little son.  Nor does God control his children. He wants us to learn for ourselves.

Why all this climate change ?   God could stop it, but if He did, he’d actually be  supporting our best efforts to destroy the planet He has given us to live on, not giving us the chance to live less destructively.

God does NOT control his children. He wants us to learn for ourselves,

Why doesn’t God heal sick or dying people?  However much we pray He doesn’t always do it ? But He wants US to find ways of curing diseases, we must care for them and do our best,