Maria told me a fact about Valentine’s Day. It seems that if a man does not get a woman he is dating flowers and candy for Valentine’s Day, 53% of women will dump that man. Who is the fool and who is the lover in that scenario? So, it seems like my idea of fools and lovers for this season of Lent is appropriate.
We find a Merriam-Webster definition of “fool” is a person who is lacking in judgment or prudence. This would like the person who walks around with a “Kick Me” sign on April 1st.
We find a Merriam-Webster definition of “lover” is an affectionate or benevolent person. This would be like a person who buys the homeless guy a meal.
Why am I so interested in fools and lovers? In 1945, Easter fell on April 1st. In 1956, we find the same timing. The next times this coincidence will happen is in 2029 and 2040. Easter moves because we celebrate it the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the March equinox. This roughly corresponds to the Jewish Passover, which is on the 14th of Nisan at the time of the Full Moon. Since Jesus was crucified after the Passover, we celebrate his resurrection from the dead after Passover.
With Easter falling on April 1st, it means Lent begins on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. Not counting the six Sundays before Easter, Lent is 40 days long. This means Lent would begin on a Wednesday. These forty days are days of preparation for living with the resurrected Christ. We begin by admitting our mortality and sinfulness, thus the ashes. We end Lent by thinking about the death of Jesus and what it means. Then we get to Easter, the celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and our hope of rising from the dead.
We get to choose whether we want to live with Jesus. Lent is a time for us to decide to follow Jesus. But do we want to follow someone who left his home? In deciding to follow Jesus, we figure out if Jesus is a fool or a lover. Was it wise for Jesus to leave Nazareth? What was Jesus proving by leaving Nazareth?
A. Was Jesus a fool for leaving Nazareth? (1:9-11)
1. Jesus had a home and family in Nazareth
2. Yet, he goes to where John is working in the Jordan
3. Jesus saw heaven opened torn apart!
4. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus
5. Our Heavenly Father spoke: “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.”
6. All along Jesus knew his identity. It is through John’s baptism and the Lord speaking from heaven that we know Jesus’ identity. If Jesus had stayed in Nazareth, then he would not be who he is. Think about this idea. We are created by God. Yet, we think we have everything we need in our lives filled with sin. It is by turning from our lives of sin that find we are more than creations of God, we become children of God! We cannot say that we are always children of God, for when we sin are not living as children of God. Yet, Jesus has always been the Son of God. Even Jesus was tempted.
B. What do we say about Jesus going to the wilderness? (1:12-13)
1. As soon as Jesus is acknowledged as the Son of God, temptation happens
2. Satan is the one who tempts Jesus and us
3. These 40 days in the wilderness are lonely, even with the wild beasts and angels
4. The Son of God did not give into the tempting of Satan. Jesus withstood temptation. As children of God, we learn to withstand temptation. The Holy Spirit may drive us into the wilderness. It is Jesus who helps us overcome temptation to live as children of God.
C. Is Jesus a fool for calling people to repent? (1:14-15)
1. John’s ministry ends when he is arrested
2. Jesus’ ministry begins when John is arrested
3. What was Jesus’ ministry?
a. The time is fulfilled – salvation has come
b. The kingdom of God has come near – God wants us to be with him
c. Repent – change your way of thinking and living
d. Believe in the good news – trust that God wants us know how to live away from temptation and live in God’s presence
4. We get to decide if we want to be fools or lovers. Jesus already knows who he is. The ministry Jesus had at that time is still the ministry we have today. Deliverance from a life of sin, ruled by temptations, does not have to be our life. We can choose to believe in God by turning to his way of thinking and living. Then we can see how God makes us his children.
Jesus is not a fool. Jesus is more than a lover. Jesus chose to live who he is, the Son of God. Jesus left the confines of peaceful Nazareth so we could have peace with God in the kingdom of God. We get to decide if we want what God has for us.
We could be fools if we remain in a life of sin, ruled by temptation. We could be lovers, if we decide to believe the good news that God has life for us. This life is one that overcomes temptation. This season of Lent is a time for us to choose. Salvation has come in the person of Jesus. Will we become children of God or will we remain as creatures ruled by temptation?