Press Conference 30 A.D.


A press conference. You know the drill.

The room is filled with “the press,” reporters wanting to know the facts and anxious to ask questions. The speaker comes to the microphone. The President, an athlete or a coach, a governor or mayor or law enforcement officer, whoever is in the know makes an opening statement. The statement lays out the facts appropriate to the situation.

Then follow the questions, which usually come in rapid-fire succession and all at once, each reporter trying to out-shout the others to get their question answered. In many cases the questioner’s tone and question seem an attempt to discredit the statement or reveal its shortfall.

The speaker then answers the questions, using the facts that had already been stated in the opening statement. In addition, the speaker gives further facts and helpful examples, all of which give added credence to the declaration made in the opening statement.

Thus, a press conference.

I am preaching again today as this article goes online in The Citizen. For many of us today is the First Sunday in Lent. Lent is the liturgical season in the Church Year that begins with Ash Wednesday, which was this past Wednesday, and goes for 40 days until Easter, not counting the Sundays. Many of you know that the “mood” of Lent is more solemn and emphasizes repentance and our need for forgiveness. All of this culminates with Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Good Friday, with concentration on the death of Jesus on the cross for the full forgiveness of all our sins.

Then, of course, comes the glorious celebration of Easter and the pure joy in the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

The Scripture read and preached on the First Sunday in Lent is always the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by the devil. In the gospel accounts of both Matthew and Luke we are given expanded details about these temptations, three specifically.

However, Mark in his gospel account gives very little detail, but that should not trick us into believing that Mark does not tell us what we need to know. On the contrary, Mark tells us exactly what we need to know.

Thus, the Press Conference 30 A.D.

Just prior to the temptation story, Mark makes his opening statement. He does so by telling the story of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. Jesus comes up out of the water and the voice of God the Father says loud and clearly, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

There it is! Opening statement. “Jesus is the very Son of God, sent to earth with the mission of salvation, and He has the full power and credentials to accomplish that in full, totally pleasing the Father.”

The “press conference” questions then follow. We know the disciples did not grasp this truth in its entirety very quickly. They had doubts. They had questions. They kept looking for more proof. These are not revealed by Mark immediately after the baptism account, but we can surely project them into this moment in time given our knowledge of them at later times.

And what about the early readers and hearers of Mark’s writing? Surely at first encounter, these words had to raise up questions and the need for further proof. Questions for sure.

So, what wraps up the press conference? Of course, the answers, the proof, the facts that assure the truth and validity of the situation at hand.

And what is this proof? What answer does Mark give as the assurance and validity of the bold claim that has been made about Jesus? It is the brief, yet solid declaration that Jesus withstood the temptation of the devil in the wilderness, without wavering on His mission of salvation for the sake of the world. Jesus did not yield to the cunning and deceptive lies of the devil. He maintained His identity as the beloved and pleasing Son of the Father.

In addition, we note this stark difference to the fall to temptation by God’s first son, Adam. More on that at another time.

So, what is our take-away? Having been witness to this “press conference,” we, too, hear the clear proclamation of the true and faithful identity of Christ, we admit our own questions, and finally we are reassured that our faith is not in vain. We join with Peter, who said about Jesus, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”

And we will follow Christ to His cross and then celebrate with great joy His marvelous resurrection.

Press conferences are good. Lent is good. Easter is the best. Let’s get there together. Amen!

[Dr. Kollmeyer, a thirty-eight-year resident of Fayette County, is a retired Lutheran minister now serving as Interim Pastor at St. Martin Lutheran Church on Piedmont Ave. in Atlanta. He is available for preaching or teaching about our faith in the traditional understanding of God’s Word as it applies to us today. Contact him at]


  1. GOSPEL WRITER: In conclusion, Jesus withstood the temptations of the devil even after 40 days of deprivation, and this is the foundation for our claim that He is the Christ, the only begotten Son of the Living God. We’ll take questions.

    REPORTER: How exactly are you saying Jesus defeated temptation?

    GOSPEL WRITER: Mostly Scripture. When the devil tempted him to turn stone to bread — Jesus hadn’t eaten in 40 days, you see — The Son of Man quoted the Scripture about “man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The devil knew he couldn’t fight back against Scripture.

    REPORTER: This seems odd because Jesus isn’t that concerned with Scripture in other circumstances. He was recently quoted as saying, “You have heard it said an eye for an eye, but I’m telling you, don’t pay back evil with evil.” Why is he discounting Scripture in one place and relying on it in another?

    GOSPEL WRITER: Great question. It depends on the one he’s speaking to. The devil, Satan, the accuser, demands is fair play. He insists everyone play by the rules because he knows the only way he can really beat anyone up is by insisting they’ve broken a rule, and they have to pay. So when Jesus quoted Scripture at him, he was shutting him up by quoting the rules, the one thing the accuser respects.

    REPORTER: But then why is Jesus discounting the rules when not speaking to the devil? He even suggested if you’re being dragged to court by an adversary, you should settle with him along the way rather than going to the judge to demand justice. It seems like he’s using 2 sets of books.

    GOSPEL WRITER: Exactly! The rules are for the accuser and anyone like-mindedly litigious; anyone who insists on fair play can be hammered into shape with reference to the rules. But for human beings in desperate need, the rules are no help, and so Jesus feels free to throw them out.

    REPORTER: Jesus says we can throw out the rules?

    GOSPEL WRITER: It’s more nuanced than that, but yes. When you’re dealing with the accuser, the one who wants fair play and rule-keeping, if you’ve kept every rule perfectly yourself, then you have a shooting solution — you can quote Scripture at him, and he has to back down. But when you’re dealing with broken people in need of inspiration and healing, you can fix the rules as Jesus did with that “eye for an eye” bit, and you have a love solution that lifts the person up.

    FOX NEWS REPORTER: If we throw out the rules, society will collapse! Is that what Jesus wants?

    GOSPEL WRITER: Kind of. Some parts of society …

    FOX NEWS HEADLINE: Jesus plots to destroy society!