Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Does God Sometimes Lead Us Away to Be Tempted?

A Look At Prophecy In The Gospel of Matthew

The Temptation of God's Children - Part #1

Jesus' Temptation Raises A Question:

Does God also sometimes lead us away to be tempted?


Matthew 4:1-11 NLT

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Footnote: The Greek for tempted can also mean tested


Jesus set an example we should follow. He received from the Father the same baptism that John describes as the way Jesus will baptize believers. As he came up out of the waters of repentance and obedience, the Holy Spirit descended from heaven upon him and the Father declared his sonship.

Then the Spirit led Jesus away into the wilderness to be tempted. Is this Jesus' being baptized with fire? Does his example show us what we can expect if we are baptized by Jesus himself?

God does not tempt. This scripture declares. He is never the agent of temptation. That is left to others. But God does test us - leads us into temptation - to demonstrate the truth of our sonship and to purify us in mind, body, and soul.

So again I ask. Does Jesus sometimes lead us away to be tempted? Is that the meaning of being baptized in the Spirit and with Fire?


In the Lord's Prayer we say, "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." The word temptation here can also be translated testing. To modern ears that may introduce a subtle but important understanding to a phrase often passed over in prayer -- a request left out of non-ritualized prayer.

Is this phrase from Jesus pointing to something God sometimes does? Should we ask him to spare us? If so, why would he do this to us? We for the most part put the escape from temptation squarely on our own shoulders. We hold the person being tempted responsible for their own escape and should they fail - especially if they repeatedly fail - we consider them weak or, even worse, uncaring. They just do not love Jesus enough.

Could it be that there is a purpose for temptation? Could it be that the purpose of temptation, and thus temptation itself, must be escaped another way? A way with which we have not learned to cooperate?

1 Corinthians 10:13 certainly teaches a way to escape that is more in line with this phrase the Lord taught us to pray: 

No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted[c], he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Perhaps this is the human Jesus recalling his desert experience and asking that we be spared such a trauma and testing. Regardless of God's answer, we will be delivered from evil. The prayer the Lord taught us places escape from testing, and escape from evil, squarely in the purview of God.


We so concentrate on the forgiveness in grace, we forget to pray "deliver us from evil." It seems we've learned to be content with our sinning and evil, accepting it as normal, so we no longer feel a need to pray this phrase from the Lord's Prayer -- to escape this part of Jesus' example.

In doing so, do we fail to complete Jesus' baptism, content to ask for baptism in the Holy Spirit but not accepting the baptism with fire which is part of the true baptism by Jesus? Can this be the reason for the weakness of so much of Western Christianity and even of Orthodox Christianity?

If so, how then shall we stand when, as promised in the gospels, we stand before Satan and the butchers of Christians like our brothers and sisters in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Chad, and elsewhere?

Photo Credits:
Geological formation of Timna National Park by: Nikola Miljkovic(Getty)
Public Execution

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