Pinebrooke Community Church
Friday, March 31, 2023



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Pinebrooke Community Church                                                                                  26 March 2023

Lenten Series: “Let us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”                          Matt. 6:13

            One of the images in our 20th century history was of the Marines clamoring up the hill on the island of Iwo Jima to plant our flag to claim victorious terrain in WWII.  The image for most of us is readily recalled in our visual memories.  We see it portrayed from time to time in multiple settings.  It remains a heroic image in our minds.  Maybe our chest even swell with pride.                                                                                                                                                      

In our clause in Jesus’ Prayer, he has presented us with a calling greater than the best of human heroics.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

            Just as in the clause, “Forgive us our trespasses…” with the image of the Father running toward the Prodigal, so in this clause there is the image of Mary the mother of Jesus.  There is a radical image behind this passage of Mary when she was assigned the task to bear Jesus the Messiah.  She confronted the battle with the “principalities and powers.”  Mary on her way to Bethlehem and the challenges and obstacles she faced are residual in this clause.  Her victory speech in the Magnificat “planted the flag on top of the hill” for all of us.  When we recall her story, it is clear to see the battle and the victory, “May it be unto me as you have said”.                           

This clause as in all the clauses in Jesus’ Prayer is rooted and grounded in Jesus’ life and work.  Testing, temptation, and trial marked Jesus’ entire life.  It began after his baptism when he was sent into the desert by the Spirit to be tested and tempted by the evil one.  Jesus returned from his desert experience in the power of the Spirit to announce the Kingdom that was now as near as he was near.  Scholars tell us that the word, “temptation” here means “testing” or “tribulation.”  God does not lead us into temptation, our flesh and the evil one do that work, so when we are asking God to not lead us into temptation we are asking him to not lead us into the testing that Jesus faced and we are asking him to deliver us from the time of tribulation that is to come, the battle over evil.                                                                               

With his followers Jesus’s desire is that when the whirlpool of evil (tribulation) comes that his disciples would be delivered from that.  This Prayer becomes essential for Jesus’ followers so that they won’t go through what he went through for them.  Albert Schweitzer is quoted as saying, “Jesus was called to throw himself on the wheel of world history, so that even though it crushed him, it might start to turn in the opposite direction.”   We are the ones to live out the Kingdom that He came to set in motion.                                                                                         

“This vocation is unique to Jesus: where he goes, the rest of us cannot follow.”  Therefore, we can pray this prayer with confidence because Jesus has met that power of temptation, testing, and tribulation (where Satan has authority) and has defeated it once for all.  We don’t want to go where he went so it makes sense that is brought to mind every time, we pray this prayer.  Surely, we don’t want his suffering if he doesn’t want it for us.  We have the wrong sense of ourselves if we take all of this lightly.                                                                        

Evil is real and powerful!  We know that evil exists and is personal in the evil one.  We see it around us every day.  Both the scriptures and own experiences confirm its reality every day.  Every time my friend Luther and I remark, “What was he/she thinking” it is evidence of the sin of the flesh or the influence of the evil one in someone’s thinking.  Professor Wright observes, “Jesus intended his followers to recognize not only the reality of evil but the reality of Jesus’ victory over it.”  It is important that we remember what Jesus did in the desert as well as what he did on the cross.  It was facing evil both in the spiritual world and in our flesh.                                

As children of the kingdom of God, God’s will is to put us in authority over his world, but we need to take the authority through this Prayer.  “To pray, ‘deliver us from evil’ or ‘from the evil one,’ is to inhale the victory of the cross.”  This isn’t simply for our comfort or convenience.  The purpose for this prayer is for so much more.  We are meant to be bearers of God’s hopes and fears for humanity, focal points of the world’s hopes and fears.  Isn’t that what the kingdom of God is about?  It is about what we are to embrace and what we are to let go of.  Think about it this way; we are on the move.  We are part of a redemptive movement for the world.                                                                                                                                                 

What does it mean to turn this last clause of the Lord’s Prayer into a way of breathing in this part of Jesus’ agenda and kingdom work and turning it into flesh and blood through our own life and work.  No matter what our jobs are or have been, this is our vocation, our calling.           

First of all, it means signing on for a struggle and battle.  Jewish writer, Ben-Sira wrote, “If you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing.”  Professor Wright explains, “Our faith and commitment is that we hold to the faith and stick to the commitment, in the teeth of apparent obstacles and enticements.  Lead us not into temptation means let us escape the great tribulation that is coming on all the world; and let us escape the great testing; and do not let us be led into temptation that we will not be able to bear.”                                                             

As people of the Kingdom, we are in fact both Christmas and Easter people.  We are a part of something bigger than ourselves.  We are to become people in whose lives the joy and pain of the world meet.  We carry the incarnational news of Christmas in our joy, hope, love as good news people and we carry the pain of Good Friday and the hope of Easter as we speak and show a heaven lit life in our dark world.  As Professor Wright continues, “We are part of that great movement whereby the hopes and fears of all the years are brought together and addressed in the Living God.”                                                                                                                            

Wherever we find ourselves we are called to live out the hope resident in Christmas and the reality resident in Easter.  In this prayer we are called alongside Jesus as he weeps in Gethsemane and as he staggers up the hill of Golgotha.  Again, this is not simply a prayer for our comfort and convenience, but so that we can say, “yes” to God’s kingdom coming to birth within us just as what Mary was called to do by the Spirit in bearing Jesus, the Son of God.  We have our own hills to climb, so “there is no use kidding ourselves” like the entourage in the Chosen, we have been chosen by the Almighty to represent Him in every encounter of life.  So let get on with it as we make this prayer our way of life.


Whether a visitor to this site or a member looking to catch up on a missed
worship service we invite you to listen to a recent sermon.

Message Speaker Date
Acts 2:1-13 Bob Johnson 29 September 2019
Acts 2:41-47 Bob Johnson 13 October 2019
Acts 3:11-26 Bob Johnson 27 October 2019
Acts 4:1-22 Bob Johnson 3 November 2019
Acts 4:23-31 Bob Johnson 10 November 2019
Acts 4:32-37 Bob Johnson 24 November 2019
Matthew 24:36-44 Bob Johnson 1 December 2019
Matthew 3:1-12 Bob Johnson 8 December 2019
Matthew 11:2-11 Bob Johnson 15 December 2019
Matthew 1:18-25 Bob Johnson 22 December 2019
A Case for Miracles Deb Mitchell 29 December 2019
James 5:1-6 Bob Johnson 18 August 2019
James 5:7-12 Bob Johnson 25 August 2019
James 5:13-20 Bob Johnson 1 September 2019
Acts 1:1-5 Bob Johnson 18 September 2019
Acts 1:12-28 Bob Johnson 22 September 2019