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Do Not Bring Us to the Time of Trial

September 24th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

I read about Jesus in the desert this morning in Luke Chapter 4. I find it interesting that this section is titled “The Temptation of Christ.” I think this gives us a better feel for what the Bible means when it talks about temptation. The NRSV translates Mt. 6:13 in the Lord’s prayer as “And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.” This is in contrast with almost every other translation which renders it “Do not lead us into temptation.” The same Greek word which has to do with temptation is used in both the prayer and the trial of Jesus by Satan. I have long preferred the NRSV rendering because I think it better captures the meaning in both places.

What is a temptation but a trial? Is it not the experience of being offered that same fearsome choice that was offered to Adam and Eve in the garden? And what was the outcome of that experience? Utter failure. In fact, as you become familiar with the scriptures you ultimately must acknowledge that people do not fare well under trial. When given the choice between fidelity and betrayal we all end up alongside Judas. Maybe not in everything, but in some things. But the incident in the desert shows us that Jesus does remain faithful under trial. Jesus did what Adam and Eve, and we, cannot do.

That’s why we must pray not to be brought to the time of trial, Because we will fail. But Jesus does not fail. So we must pray to be found in him.

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