Jesus was led into the desert to be tempted by Satan, but He didn’t yield any of His purity, holy principles, or righteous characteristics in the process. He returned from His desert experience without having compromised any kingdom values.
He led a sinless life on earth, was falsely accused of crimes He did not commit, was subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment, and was then killed. Before any of this began, though, these were His words during prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. “He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. (Mark 14:35-36)” He was not granted a reprieve from the ordeal because the will of the Father was for Jesus to disarm the powers of darkness to make a way for humanity to experience life now and forever with the Father. Jesus was not delivered from the intent of evil, at least not initially. He endured the tribulation, and when Christ overcame the power of the grave, He rose from the dead the unscathed victor and provided all of humanity with a way to escape the ultimate plan of the evil one.
Through the power of His redemptive work, Jesus enabled all who would follow Him the ability to be led away from temptation. The emphasis here is on the leading aspect. Lead us away from that which would harm and destroy us, and lead us God in your way instead.
- Ps 5:8 “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness.”
- Ps 23:2 “He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
- Ps 25:5 “You guide me in your truth and teach me”
- Ps 27:11 “Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path”
- Ps 31:3-4 “Since you are my rock and my fortress for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.”
On a Village2Village mission trip to Central America, one of the assignments of our team was required to stretch a large hose a couple hundred yards from a village on the Belize River through dense tropical brush and a bamboo thicket down to the river to pump water to a construction project. A narrow path was cut by hand with machetes by a couple of the villagers which created a tunnel effect to the river. None of our team ventured into it because of the warnings of snakes and a bush with needles that caused extreme pain and muscle cramping if it pricked the skin.
My curiosity eventually caused me to follow one of villagers who had cut the path. I knew of his reputation of skill in the bush and felt comfortable with his keen eyes to spot and avoid danger. We hiked through knee high grass, then chest high grass, before disappearing into the bush. One hundred yards later the beauty of the river appeared. After I returned, two other members of the team asked if it was safe, and I said, “Sure!” and off they disappeared into the thicket.
When we follow Christ’s leading, trusting Him for guidance and the resources to overcome the evil one, we will not find ourselves giving into temptation. God knows the safe path through the thicket to the beauty of the river.
“Perhaps we could paraphrase the whole request in this prayer as ‘Do not allow us to be led into temptation that overwhelms us, but rescue us from the evil one’. So behind these words that Jesus gave us to pray are the implications that the devil is too strong for us, that we are too weak to stand up to him, but that our heavenly Father will deliver us if we call upon him.”(John R. W. Stott, The message of the Sermon on the Mount)
(The “Living the Lord’s Prayer” blog series is based on Craig’s book, The Vigil, available at village2village.co. Proceeds will support mission work around the world.)