Lent I

  • 2 March 2023
  • Stuart Robinson

Lent 1 Vaucluse

Who Am I?

Romans 5:1-5

Matthew 4:1-11

Immediately prior to the first COVID lockdown in 2020, I flew to LA for a week.

I caught up with my third son, Ed who was living there before he moved to Mumbai, my brother Eden, my sister Dannielle, my niece Eva, and my former sister-in-law, Nicola, and her new partner.

They all live within ten minutes of each other in West Hollywood; not surprising as they are all in the ‘entertainment’ business.

And it was great fun, much laughter, and some tears, as we remembered eccentric relatives and other friends whose lives and deaths had impacted us in different ways.

‘How did I ever get to be a part of this crazy gang?’, was the question I pondered on the return flight?

And the answer to that question is straightforward enough, as it happens:

A: Because of decisions taken on my behalf by my forebears.

For example: my birthmother elected to have the illegitimate child (me) that she was carrying; it was Kings Cross in the 1950’s, and other less sanguine options were available to her.

So, at her parent’s direction, my mother dutifully, reluctantly, placed me in an orphanage where I was adopted by the Robinson family the following year. 

And they raised me to know and love the Lord Jesus.

Meanwhile, my birthmother somehow maintained contact with mypaternal grandfather which, to cut a long story short, led me to being connected with seven other half brothers and sisters at age thirty.

So, do you see? 

Decisions taken by others had and have massive bearing on who I am now and how I see myself. Those people are my family, my tribe – I am one of them – for good or ill!

So here then is my point:

Decisions taken on our behalf – by God in Christ, the Lord Jesus – also have bearing, indeed they inform who I am, or more importantly, whose I am.

Let’s now look at the gospel text, for today, Matthew 4.

Right after his baptism in the Jordan where Jesus was identified by God the Father – as the Son of God ‘with whom he was well pleased’ (Matthew 3:17), Jesus is cunningly assailed by the devil who immediately challenges his identity….”­if you are the Son of God – prove it” (Matthew 4:3,6). 

And I should add that in that little, “if”, question the devil alsotakes a swipe at the constancy and integrity of God…for God had just declared that Jesus was his much-loved Son, in whom no fault could be found (Matthew 3:17).

But Jesus will not be distracted.

Fortified by his month of Spirit-led prayer and fasting in the wilderness, Jesus deftly rebuked the devil on two occasions by virtue of his knowledge of and faithfulness to the Scriptures. (Matthew 4:4,7).

Unable to undermine his clarity and his confidence regarding his identity as the Son of God, the devil changes tack, and offers Jesus what appears to be an uncomplicated and pain-free door to power and authority. 

This option, the satanic course, does not involve the humiliation of the cross, nor is there any requirement for Jesus to live selflessly and sacrificially in obedience to God the Father’s will – all Jesus need to do is acknowledge the devil as his Lord ! (4:10)

Jesus – confronts the devils lies by rehearsing the very first commandment – that satan is clearly goading him to break, “worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Exodus 20:2; Deuteronomy 6:13).

Here is why Jesus’ decision to resist the devil is such good news for you and for me: 

Our Lord Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are – but did not sin – says the writer to the Hebrews (4:5). 

St. Paul adds: ‘God made Jesus – who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that in him, we might become the righteousness of God’ (II Corinthians 5:21). 

Let me explain: Jesus – the Son of God – loves you so much, that he took that road less travelled. 

For you and for me – this sinless Saviour – goes to the cross and to death to deal with our sin and put us right with God; Jesus’ “righteousness” his sinless standing is transferred to our ‘account’, according to Romans 5.

And that directly informs whom, and whose we are. 

Through our faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection – we have been declared forgiven and ‘not guilty’ by God; the meaning of ‘justified’ – and I’ll return to that in a moment.

Immediately, we have peace, and are at peace with God (5:1).

And as an expression of his love and grace – God himself indwells us by his Spirit (5:5).

Who are we?

Well, our epistle reading states that we are recipients and beneficiaries of God’s grace; His unmerited kindness has been poured out on us though Christ – Romans 5:15.

And that kindness is given expression in our new- found status: we have been ‘justified’ – 5:16.

That is the most important word ever to be uttered, it might be argued.


It means that God has declared us ‘righteous’.

More accurately, Jesus’ righteousness – his sinless standing before a holy God, has been ‘credited to our account’.

We now stand before God free from condemnation and judgement (5:16).

Indeed, St. Paul states that through Christ, we ‘reign in life’ (verse 18), now and for eternity!


This Lent – let me encourage you, beloved, to remember who (or whom), and whose you are.

Our Lord Jesus opted for obedience, humiliation, and death – so that we might know forgiveness, freedom, and wholeness as God’s beloved child.

Through Jesus, and Jesus alone – we have gained access to this grace in which we stand (Romans 5:2).

May we pray?

Dear Lord Jesus,

The decisions that you took, have bearing on my identity.

Thank you that your obedience, leads to my freedom, my justification, and my acceptance and adoption into God’s family.

Through the abundant provision of your grace, I can face God unafraid of condemnation and death.

This Lent, Lord God, may I live as the child of God who you declare me to be.

May I serve in humility, obedience, and joyful abandon.


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