Year 1: January 20, 2019
Preaching Text: Matthew 4:1-17
Doctor De Soto by William Steig
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: After his baptism, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness, and when he is very vulnerable, he is tempted by the devil. Jesus, though, does not cave to the temptations. He does, however, engage the devil’s opinions and conjectures, and in doing so, definitively shuts them down. The devil has to leave Jesus’ presence and angels come to minister to Jesus instead. In Doctor De Soto, the mouse, Dr. De Soto, and his wife work as dentists, but they refuse to work on animals who are predators to mice. Their policy is tested when a fox comes to them in immense pain. The mice are vulnerable to the fox, but they decide to treat his tooth pain. However, when they realize that the fox does intend to do them harm and eat them, they use a kind of glue to (temporarily) shut the fox’s mouth, so he cannot harm them. They engaged the fox as a patient, but did not underestimate what he was capable of, and shut down his ill intentions. Jesus was vulnerable, but he engaged the devil, while also not underestimating what the devil was capable of, and he shut down the devil’s ill intentions. As people of faith, we may, like Doctor De Soto and his wife, and like Jesus, be called upon to counter and engage powers that are threatening and have ill intentions. But, if, like Jesus, we depend on the word of God and our faith, then our Savior can use us to shut down those powers of temptation and evil.
Thanks to Sara Anne Berger, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Nachitoches LA, for writing the Year 1 Narrative Lectionary Links.