Rev. Tim Radkey
"Lead us not into temptation." This is a petition of the Lord's Prayer that we pray daily. We pray that the Spirit may lead us away from temptations and prayerfully hope that we will, in God's power and strength, not be overcome by the temptations we face.
God does make clear that we are all susceptible to the same temptations. God does make clear that He will not let us be tempted beyond our ability. God does make clear that for every temptation, there is an exit provided for the baptized--that we may be able to withstand it (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).
There are three temptations recorded, among the many Jesus faced after His baptism, in St. Luke 4:1-13. The second temptation often captures our attention when thinking about temptation. The devil leads Jesus to Jerusalem. Jesus follows where the devil leads. This is something we must realize only Jesus can do. Our flesh is too weak to follow the devil where he leads and come away unstained by sin. Sadly, the devil's voice sounds very familiar--like our own--and sometimes we cannot distinguish between the two. This is most certainly true for us. This is most certainly not true of Jesus.
Origen was an early church father from the 3rd century. He speaks to Jesus' following the devil to be tempted. What he says about Jesus is something we could never say about ourselves. Jesus is able to face temptation in a way we never could, for we are sinful and He is sinless.
Origen describes Jesus' strength in this way, "Lead on where you will. Test me as it pleases you. I give myself willingly to be tried. I endure what you bring against me. I offer myself for any of your temptations. You will find that I am stronger in every way." Jesus is able to face and conquer any temptation of the devil. In the cross Jesus demonstrates His ability to conquer the effects of sin, death, and the devil upon the world. The words of Origen are not a call for us to sturdy ourselves to take on the devil; rather, these words remind us we are not Jesus and we are left to cling solely to the cross of Christ and His resurrection on our behalf. Our strength against temptation is our baptism into Christ and Jesus' absolution and body and blood given us to eat and drink. These gifts give to us Jesus' victory over the devil, temptation, and sin.
"Lead us not into temptation." This is the prayer Jesus gives us to pray. May we continue to pray this prayer and always look for the escape God has provided from the temptations we face. Lord, in Your mercy forgive, strengthen, save, and deliver us from all evil and when we fall prey to temptation, may Your Spirit lead us to turn from our sins to the forgiveness Your cross delivers to sinners.
Rev. Tim Radkey serves at Our Savior Lutheran Church, McKinney Texas.
Created: April 7th, 2016