In the name of Jesus. Amen. Adam was created a son of God, made in the very image of the incorruptible, holy, eternal God. He was loved. He was cared for.
All things were His. All things gift. Every word that the Lord spoke to Him true. Every promise sure. Everything gift – even the tree in the midst of the garden – the one of the knowledge of God and Evil – was a placed there loving by God for Adam’s good.
Then comes the serpent. Another created thing – more crafty than all the other beasts of the field – but yet still created.
“Did God really say that you weren’t given all the trees of the garden? Did he really say you’d die? You won’t die. He just doesn’t want you to be like him. If you listen to my preaching, instead of His, you’ll be like god and know good and evil.”
Eve ate. Adam with her. Sin came into the world. And with sin, came death. Adam and his wife died. Round one goes to the serpent.
Round two, round three, and every other round thereafter went to serpent too. For Adam’s kids were born in the likeness and image not of the God who created them but of the Adam that had fallen.
They all – one after another died. And death reigned and had everything stopped there, we’d be lost…
Then, to save you – and that’s what today is about saving you and me from our sins – then to save you a Second Adam came. Born of a woman, a seed of Eve, born under the Law, to redeem us from the Law by crushing the head of the serpent..
This Adam is driven into the wilderness to be tempted, tested, by the devil. To go one on one with the ancient serpent. What’s at stake is, of course, you and me.
Food first. Why not? It worked on the first Adam. “Don’t you think that after forty days and nights you should eat, Jesus? If you are a son of God, then it’s easy-peacy-lemon-squeezy for you to turn these stones into bread.”
But, this Adam lives not from bread alone but from every word that comes from the mouth of God.
So, the serpent takes him to the top of the temple. “If you are a son of God, take a hop of the temple and the Scripture says that angels will catch you. Make a big show and show that you, like Adam version 1.0, are like God.”
“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” This Adam doesn’t have to test God to prove who He is. He trusts what His Dad says about Him is true. He’s the beloved Son of God.
Then, we see most clearly what this is all about. They went to the highest mountain and the serpent showed this Second Adam all the kingdoms of the earth. “All this is yours, all you need to do is to bow down and worship me. I’ll be your god. You be my Adam.”
You see, the devil doesn’t care about the stuff. You and I do, but he doesn’t really. Whether Jesus has it or Satan has it doesn’t matter. What matters to the serpent is damning you.
If Jesus does His own thing, if He is like every other Adam and lives for Himself, lives like you and I live daily and much, then we would be lost forever. If Jesus fails, if He falls, then it’s game over for you and me and all the world go straight to h-e-double hockey sticks. No passing go. Just straight to hell.
But, the Second Adam doesn’t fail like the first Adam. He doesn’t fail like every son of Adam since. “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
Satan leaves and the angels come and minister to Jesus to strengthen him. Satan will be back in Holy Week. He’ll enter Judas. He’ll have Jesus seized, beaten, bruised, mocked, falsely accused, and crucified.
And as the Second Adam hangs answering for our sins, the serpent will tempt Him again,“if you are the Son of God, come down from the Cross and we’ll believe in you.”
“We’ll believe in you.” That’s all that God has wanted all along. To have some Adams who would love him.
But the serpent doesn’t even care about whether you believe in God. No, what He doesn’t want is for you to believe that this Jesus, the Second Adam, suffered and died for you.
So, desperate, the serpent struck this Adam with all the venom that He had left. He struck Him with the punishment that was given to the first Adam. The punishment due you and me. Satan hit Him with death itself. Christ dies. And everyone knows that dead Adams stay dead.
And if you are like the world, you’d think that at this point, that God and Satan were equal adversaries. That the angel that you picture siting on your shoulder is equal to the voice of the serpent that tempts you.
But, He’s not. God is not equal to any created created thing. For this Second Adam, born of the Virgin, does the serpent in by His own sting.
As He breathes His last, the head of the serpent is struck. Death is undone. Satan conquered. Game, set, match, Jesus. Not by force, but by dying.
The Lord Jesus is so God that every scheme and every plan of Satan, even the temptation itself is all used to save you and me from our sins. All Satan does when He tussels with God is be a pawn in God’s plan to have Himself some Adams to love.
Now, today, we have come here again with all our sins, our problems, our sicknesses, and our pain. The temptation for us is to look to ourselves. To look to something else other than the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We hear that Cross stuff every year, every Lent. Tell me something different, pastor. Tell me how I can have some victory in my life, how I can turn the ship in the home team’s, in my team’s favor.
But, this Gospel is all that can save you and me. Jesus and His suffering and death for you that alone saves. What Christ endured alone rescues us. His forgiveness overcomes everything – sickness, suffering, death, even hell itself.
What you suffer, He’s taken upon Himself. What you feel, He felt. Your pain, your anger, your hurt, your loneliness, your failure, your guilt. He bore it all on the tree. It died with Him.
He rose on Easter morning and in your Baptism you rose with Him. No more looking to yourself to see how it is between God and you. No more looking at God as if He hasn’t done in the serpent for you.
The serpent is done. He’s dead on the side of the road. You’ll see on the Last Day.
For God in Christ today is turning all your filth, all your failures, all your sins, all your pain, all your sickness, upon itself. He will use it all to save you. Or better, He’ll use it to save your neighbor. The Adams around are important to Him too.
God hasn’t allowed Satan to run roughshod in your life as if Satan is this unstoppable force that not even God can contend with. No, God in Christ has turned all the devil’s schemes into your salvation. He’s let you know it today. You’ll see it for sure on the Last Day.
So, when you sin, repent. When you fall, confess your sins to God. Come clean and receive His forgiveness and life. Cling to the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. For that alone can save you.
And if Satan tells you that you can’t be forgiven for what you’ve done. That Christianity is too easy. That you must change, do something better so that God will love you.
Tell him to go to h-e-double hockey sticks. You can’t get any better than Christ. He’s the one who suffered and died for you. He’s washed you clean in your Baptism. Christ has got to save you. His blood given to you today simple must cleanse you.
Adam fell and in Him we all fell with Him. But today isn’t about Adam’s fall or all the rounds that went to Satan after the Fall. Today’s Gospel is about Jesus overcoming the devil for you.
Your sins are forgiven. No one can snatch that from you. No one can take it from you. Not even the devil himself. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.