Updated: a day ago
by Jon Reeverts
Lead us not into temptation
My friend Edwarde May always helps me get to deep thoughts.
The other day he asked me about The Lord’s Prayer. There was something that bothered him.
“Jon, why does the prayer say… ‘lead us not into temptation?’”
I can’t remember if he asked it or inferred it, but the idea of course is; “Why would God tempt us?”
Have you ever asked this question or had this thought? At one point, I did too.
So here’s the deal - He doesn’t tempt us.
Let’s walk down this trail together - like Ed and I did on Sunday afternoon.
The Bible says that Jesus has been tempted in every way we have.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
That’s an odd verse?
Was Jesus tempted to take shortcuts to advance His career?
Was Jesus tempted to do meth or relapse into addiction?
Was Jesus tempted to embezzle funds from His company?
Was Jesus tempted to run off with his secretary?
He obviously has not been tempted in any way a woman has been tempted - so this verse seems a little gender specific.
But it’s not. Here’s why.
Let’s go back to the beginning of His ministry. After he was baptized by John in the Jordan River, He was led out into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.(Matthew 4:1 )
After 40 days and nights in the desert with no food or resources for strength, the devil comes to tempt him.
What is the temptation - every attack is on Jesus' identity as God’s Son, AND, His choice to hand over His authority to the devil in place of depending on God. Essentially, He is tempted to do life Himself - apart from God.
That temptation sounds familiar - a summary of Genesis 2 might go like this: “If you eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, you will be like God. Adam/Eve? Who needs God? Do life your way!”
The temptation - all temptation falls in this category: Do life your way!
Review the list above. It’s not gender specific - doing life our own way is both a male and female temptation. And any list that can be built would revolve around this same issue.
Jesus not only survived the temptation - he dominated - exercised His authority and dependence on Father. He succeeded where Adam failed.
Remember also, the Israellites also failed their journey through the desert. They refused to trust God to enter the promised land and instead wandered through the desert for the next 40 years to bring to death the generations who refused God’s voice in their lives. Jesus was victorious where the Israelites failed.
What about us? What’s our prayer?
Lead us not into temptation? Huh? Why that line?
… because Jesus went first. He has already won. He has already demonstrated that dependence on God works. He shows His disciples… before the cross that… “Here’s what is coming. I will die, be resurrected and bring the Spirit to live inside of you, allowing you to have the same power that lives in Me.”
So, “lead me not into temptation” is a reminder that God has already shown that we can withstand the devil and that the devil will try everything to get us to do life ourselves, our way.
That’s why the next line is “And… deliver us from evil!” Deliver us from Satan and his lies.
Why or How?
For “Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory!”
That’s not a hurray for God statement - that’s a reminder that we are called to the Kingdom, we are clothed in God’s Power - His righteousness, and we demonstrate God’s Glory when we show that we are going to live life fully dependent on God.
We always say, “Every verse breaths His name!” When we see this being connected from Adam to the Israelites through Jesus, the statement makes sense, the way we are to live life makes sense, and our inheritance begins to make sense.
John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.