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1 Lent - Luke 4:1-13

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

String walked into a bar.

He ordered a cocktail, but the bartender refused.

“We don’t serve your kind here,” she snapped.

“Get out!”

So String slinked outside, wandered down the sidewalk, and looked around.

There was no other establishment in sight, and he was really thirsty.

As a stranger approached, String had an idea.

“Hey, pal, can you help me?”

“Sorry, I have no spare change.”

“No, I’ve got money—I need you to rough me up.”


“Tie me up, mess my hair, pull me apart, make me look completely ragged.”

“Are you sure?”



The stranger obliged, and now String looked in a store window at his tangled,

twisted, disheveled reflection and smiled.

“Thank you, kind sir!” he chirped and returned to the bar, sat down, and ordered a drink.

“Hey, aren’t you the fellow I just threw out of here?”

“No. I’m a frayed knot.”

String is not alone.

Don’t we all, at one time or another, in one way or another, compromise ourselves a bit to get something we really want?

Maybe a preacher desperate for attention sinks to telling terrible jokes. (Could happen.)

Maybe a church pollutes creation with styrofoam to save money or time.

Maybe someone with more ambition than talent sleeps their way to success.

Maybe a parent breaks a promise to a child to pursue something more interesting.

Maybe an official bends a rule to maintain their power or income stream.

Maybe we fight fire with fire, cruel words with crueler ones.

Maybe we try to protect someone vulnerable we love with a little lie, then rationalize it,

which is probably a second lie we now tell ourselves.

Maybe we vote for a terrible candidate by convincing ourselves the other one is worse.

Maybe we work too hard, or too little; maybe we ruin ourselves serving everyone

else, or ruin ourselves by neglecting others, and always with a good explanation.

Maybe you can list a hundred more examples where someone could argue, “but the ends

justify the means.”

The drink is worth the deception.

The possibility before us is worth being untrue to others and ourselves, which is

to say, worth suspending our trust in the God who made us as we are.

The Bible is a very thick book full of stories in which the people of God get tangled up

into far less than God dreamed for them.

Two of the most memorable are in Luke’s mind as he weaves the story of Jesus being

tested by the devil, and he tips them off right away.

After Jesus’ baptism, at which he is named son of God, Luke lists his genealogy all the