June 25, 2008 - Wednesday of the 5th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Proverbs 31:10-31; John 21:1-25

And lead us not into temptation. What does this mean? God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory. (The Lord's Prayer, Sixth Petition)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. A question that is often asked about this petition of the Lord's Prayer is, “Why does it say 'Lead us not?' God doesn't tempt us or lead us into temptation!” Well, the first and simplest answer is this: These are the exact words our Lord taught us to pray. So, we don't argue or question them, but believe them and pray them.

But there is an important answer to this question. The fact is, the Lord DOES lead into temptation. In St. Matthew's Gospel we hear that Jesus was LED by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil (Matthew 4:1). That was Jesus' work, His mission, His calling: to be tempted by the Devil and to overcome the Evil One's power. It's true that the Lord doesn't tempt us, but He sent His Son into temptation, into the Devil's lair to destroy his power over us. In fact, over and over throughout His earthly life, Jesus was led into temptation. Yet, He always stood firm, trusting in His Father, and overcoming sin and death for our sakes!

Now Jesus' victory over sin and temptation is YOUR victory over sin and temptation. Now we pray the Sixth Petition, as much as to say: “Lord, you led your Son into temptation which He overcame for us. Therefore keep us from all temptation and anything that would drag us away from Christ and His Word and our salvation. Let it be that because your Son has defeated all our enemies, that our enemies may never defeat us!”

Baptized into Christ, what is His is yours. His victory over temptation and the Devil is your victory over those evil enemies. Have no doubt that the Lord not only WON'T lead you into temptation, but in Christ, He also rescues you from all your enemies who would try to hurt you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Lead not into temptation, Lord, Where our grim foe and all his horde Would vex our souls on ev'ry hand. Help us resist, help us to stand Firm in the faith, a mighty host, Through comfort of the Holy Ghost. (LSB 766:7)