Lord’s Prayer: Lead Us Not Into Temptation
(Continued from page 1)
Worried that Jerusalem will replace the gospel of Christ with the personality of “Jesus Christ” (and that he too might get carried away by their enthusiasm), Jesus separates himself from his message. After giving a teaching he retreats and hides.1 When challenged by the Pharisees and Sadducees, he says that he can do nothing of himself nor accept any honor, only carry out the will of Father who sent him.2
Seeing his fame spread like wildfire,3 Jesus tells those whom he heals not to tell anyone else;4 and his disciples not to call him the Christ.5 To the very end, he refuses to be crowned the King of the Jews6 or labeled the only Son of God.7
Jesus the Nazarene wanted his followers to see him as a Son of Man. Just as each and every one of us is a Son of Man—in other words, a son or daughter of mankind. It is together, with Jesus, that we sit on the right hand of the Father8 (i.e. in partnership with God) working toward making His will be done and fulfilling our potential as children of God through Christ.
In today’s media–driven world, it’s increasingly difficult to find leaders (be they in religion, the arts, business, or politics) who shun fame the way Jesus did. Instead, those who are uncommonly blessed with talent often seek out adulation and cultivate public personalities. Rather than denying the devil his opportunity, they offer him a seat at their table.
Assuming celebrity status, they attribute their gifts and successes to themselves instead of the Father and Holy Spirit. They apply their talents to work unworthy of their gifts, and begin to feel that they deserve their power and possessions. They succumb to their pride, and in doing so forget that the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. When the inevitable fall from grace occurs it is never pretty.9 But every public fall should be a reminder to us that the devil’s pride must be confronted and overcome.
It is by prayer that we succeed in this task, not because we are seeking divine providence from without (asking the Father to come down from on high and give Satan the boot) but because through prayer we call ourselves to wakefulness, just as Jesus woke up Lazarus. During prayer, we place conscious attention on the fact that pride is forever lurking with the devil in the shadows, affecting us in ways that we often don’t even realize (i.e. are asleep to) at the time—especially when its a wounded pride whispering in our ears.
Consider Jesus’s fateful night at Gethsemane. Before being captured by Roman soldiers he goes off alone to talk with God. When he finishes praying, he returns to his disciples only to find them “sleeping for sorrow”10—in other words, nursing the “oh, woe is me” canard that our pride inspires when things don’t go our way. Jesus admonishes them to pray, so that they don’t fall into this temptation.
By telling them to pray, what Jesus is really asking them to do is wake up and realize that it’s wounded pride causing their sorrow, not sadness over Jesus’s fate—sorrow that they aren’t going to rule with Jesus over an earthly kingdom11 and be lionized for their greatness.12 The same sorrow we feel when we don’t get what is coming to us, what we think we deserve. A sorrow that can quickly turn to hate and violence: as shown by the apostle who shortly after Jesus’s admonition to pray leaps up to slash off a soldier’s ear.13 A sorrow that conveniently leads us to the next line of The Lord’s Prayer: but deliver us from evil.
Read Chapter 11: But Deliver Us From Evil (Overcoming Our Egos)
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- “While you still have the light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light.” After he had said this, Jesus went away, and hid himself from them. – John 12:36 [↩]
- I can do nothing of myself; I judge as I am taught; and the judgment that I give is just, because my aim is not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. – John 5:30 [↩]
- The fame of Jesus spread at once in all directions, through the whole neighborhood of Galilee. – Mark 1:28 [↩]
- The man’s ears were opened, the string of his tongue was freed, and he began to talk plainly. 36 Jesus insisted upon their not telling anyone; but the more he insisted, the more perseveringly they made it known. – Mark 7:36 [↩]
- He asked, “Who do you say that I am?” To this Peter replied: “You are the Christ.” 30 On which Jesus charged them not to say this about him to anyone. – Mark 3:11 [↩]
- Meanwhile Jesus was brought before the Roman governor. “Are you the King of the Jews?” asked the governor. “That is what you say,” answered Jesus. – Matthew 27:11 [↩]
- “Are you, then, the Son of God?” they all asked. And Jesus said: “You say that I am.” – Luke 22:70 [↩]
- From this hour ‘the Son of Man will be seated on the right hand of God Almighty. – Luke 22:69 [↩]
- “But those who have listened and not acted upon what they have heard may be compared to a person who built a house on the ground without any foundation. The river swept down upon it, and the house immediately collapsed; and great was the crash that followed.” – Luke 6:49 [↩]
- He rose from praying, and came to the disciples, and found them sleeping for sorrow. 46 “Why are you asleep?” he asked them. “Rise and pray, that you may not fall into temptation.” – Luke 22:45 [↩]
- We were hoping that he was the destined deliverer of Israel. – Luke 24:21 [↩]
- They began questioning one another which of them it could be that was going to do this. 24 And a dispute arose among them as to which of them was to be regarded the greatest. – Luke 22:24 [↩]
- The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 One of those who were standing by drew his sword and struck at the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear. – Mark 14:47 [↩]