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Thursday, April 13, 2017

04132017 - Maundy Thursday - “Lead us not into temptation” – “God does not tempt us, but points us to His Sacrifice!”

April 13, 2017
“Lead us not into temptation” – “God does not tempt us, but points us to His Sacrifice!”

Tonight we stand at the precipice of the Great Triduum.  Where for the disciples in the next 72 hours the range of emotions will be in the valley and then on top of the mountain.  However, though we are far removed from the time, the implications of these three days are clear and profound.  For tonight we celebrate Jesus institution of the Lord’s Supper.  We will witness the stripping of the altar and the beginning of what is for some the darkest time in the church year.  Hence why it is appropriate that in our journey through the Lord’s Prayer, we consider tonight the petition, “Lead us not into temptation”.  Each day we are tempted, for some it is a temptation to doubt God others it is a temptation to turn from God and still others to not even believe there is a God.

Tonight we consider the 6th Petition which deals with temptation and points us in a direction that is at times hard for us to consider or understand.  But what we need to remember clearly is that “God does not tempt us, but points us to His Sacrifice!”  God does not tempt us in any way, shape or form.  God doesn’t tempt us to turn away from Him.  God does not tempt us in our lives to sin.  Even Peter, whom denied Jesus three times after Jesus betryal, was forgiven and so we are as well.  Some in our society and world would disagree, but the fact remains and this is grace more than anything else, our God, is a loving God.  For God daily points us to the sacrifice of His Son, and our Savior, Jesus Christ on the Cross.

When we pray, “Lead us not into temptation” it is with firm conviction that God will not lead us in a direction that He is unwilling to walk with us.  God will journey with us into the pit and depths of our despair and doubt, with the understanding that His love for us is not to tempt us to doubt Him.  For God’s purpose is consistently to “point to His Sacrifice” of His Son Jesus and Jesus Christ willingness to go where no one else could go.  Dare I say Jesus had a desire to fulfill the plan of salvation for all of mankind and go to the Cross of Calvary!

Tonight, on this Maundy Thursday, Jesus will be tempted, whether to call down a legion of angels to come to His rescue, change the His destination, rather than the Cross, but Jesus clearly responds.  Jesus response is not to yield to the temptation to sidestep His responsibility, dare I say His calling.  This is why Jesus when He taught the disciples, “Lead us not into temptation” not only understood what His disciples would face, but what each and every one of us would face as well.  And Jesus Christ strengthened His disciples and He strengthens each and every one of us to overcome our temptation.  But, even if we do not overcome temptation nor think we have overcome it, Jesus still overcame sin and temptation and Jesus willingly goes to the Cross of Calvary in order to sacrifice Himself for all of mankind.

For it is clear, as we tonight receive His precious Body and Blood from God’s Altar, we begin to understand that Jesus did not yield to the greatest temptation.  He not only leads by example, but willingly gives us the food of eternal life that strengthens we who gather here this evening to boldly believe that “God does not tempt us, but points us to His Sacrifice”.  And we who gather here tonight around the altar of the Lord, to receive His precious Body and Blood, ‘given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins’, are empowered to boldly believe in Jesus Christ Sacrifice for us and for all of mankind and pray firmly, with great feeling and faithfully pray “Lead us not into temptation”.  AMEN.

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