“Lead Me Not Into Temptation”
So Jesus is giving his followers this template / model prayer. What would eventually be known in Church History as the Lords Prayer. “Our Father who art in Heaven hallowed be thy name … “ The first time I remember hearing this prayer was as a child, with my mother, at an anonymous support group. It’s probably the first piece of biblical writing I ever memorized.
Towards the end of the prayer there’s a piece where Jesus says, “and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil (or the evil one in some translations).
And as simple and pragmatic as the line is. a sort of “Hey Lord, if you could help me avoid tempting situations or withstand the temptations when they come, that would be great.” Is how i grew up understanding the phrase.
It’s interesting to me that immediately after Jesus receives the affirmation by his father during his baptism this happens.
Matt 4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him
I wonder as Jesus is modeling this prayer for his followers if there’s not a bit of intentionality in the wording “lead us not”. Like maybe he’s urging believers to petition God for the grace to avoid a situation that echoes his own.
Temptation, I believe, is not just fleshly inklings to do "bad things" it is being lead away from the intimate, affirming, presence of God and into isolation .
Isolation which often leads us to commune with the enemy. it is here the villains lies seem the most true and the only weapons we have to combat these fallacies are Knowing and being known by God.
The only defense of truth in the wilderness is intimacy with the word. The word who became body, soul and spirit and dwelled among us. Jesus.
Who’s experience in the desert is the redeeming echo of the fall of man and original sin. Alone and lied to. Words twisted. Greatness promised. My friend and pastor explains it like this, “Encouraging us to steal that which is promised before it's time has been the enemy's tool from day one.” - Jamie George . The evil one found the first couple at a time when they were not walking with God in the cool of the day, He found Jesus, alone in the wilderness. Jesus, the second adam resists what the first adam and his wife could not.
I believe all of that is connected to this prayer, “Lead us not into temptation”. Jesus, I think, is both in a very personal way praying to not go through that again and is modeling for us a prayer of humility . Keep us in relationship and away from the desert . Keep us in healthy community and away from isolation. Lead us into Eden and out of Exile.