“Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1)
We often pray the Lord’s Prayer when we are together as a congregation. Some of us pray it frequently in our personal devotional life as well. The words are familiar to many of us. Perhaps too familiar. We often fail to take the time to reflect on things that we know well.
In the Lord’s Prayer one line says, “Lead us not into temptation…” We probably take that phrase for granted – if we think about it, why would God lead us into temptation in the first place? Doesn’t God want us to do the right thing? What would possibly inspire God to lead us to consider doing the wrong thing?
Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. It is not the devil’s doing that he is there. It is the Spirit’s direction that puts Jesus in this position. Here, Jesus will discover what he is made of and remember what is most important. He will draw on nearly thirty years of learning the scriptures and participating in worship at the synagogue. And he (and the devil) will see what he is made of.
This story doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Jesus is tested using the very scripture passages that he has been taught – but twisted in a way to encourage him to lose sight of who he is. But he remembers and in so doing, sends the devil off defeated.
How are you doing at developing deep roots into God’s gift of life? Worship, scripture reading, prayer and shared conversations with other people of faith form a foundation for living that allows us to remember who we are when it gets harder. It is easiest to say we are a Christian when we say the Lord’s Prayer on Sundays. But that foundation allows us to be better disciples all week long – perhaps even when things get tough.