O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Lead Us Not Into Temptation
Lead Us Not Into Temptation
Based on Luke 22:45-46 and Mark 15:29-32
Preached on April 18, 2019
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The text for the sermon this evening is taken from two moments in our Lord’s Passion, as follows:
And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
And later on: Those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 3Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” So far the text.
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father, and from His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Fellow baptized saints, it was on this very night years ago. Tonight. Your Lord institutes the Holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood. His Supper. His last will and testament before He’s betrayed. Pure gift from Him. He promises that it is for you. And that it’s for the forgiveness of your sins.
Then it’s off to Gethsemane. A garden. A place of temptation. You remember Eden. The other garden. Where the serpent tempted Adam and Eve. That didn’t go so well. Now the Second and Last Adam, Jesus, is in a garden. And the devil has found his opportune time. Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation,” He tells the disciples, “Because gentlemen – the time has come – that I must enter into temptation.”
It’s different for Christ than it was for Adam. Adam was tempted to eat. Christ is tempted not to. Don’t do it. Don’t drink the cup Your Father holds before You. The cup of Calvary. The cup of the world’s sin. The cup of God’s wrath against the world’s sin. The cup of offering Yourself as the atoning sacrifice that redeems all sinners. Beloved, in the Garden of Gethsemane your salvation is at stake. And Satan knows it. So does Jesus. And the temptation to avoid Good Friday is immense. He’s gotta go to His Father. His sweat is like drops of blood. “Father, if it is your will, remove this cup from me. But not my will but yours be done.”
No Good Friday – no salvation – no forgiveness -- for you or for anyone! So Satan’s been working overtime to lead Jesus off the road to Good Friday. To avoid the Cross at all costs. To stop God’s kingdom from coming. Halt God’s will from being done. Stifle the hallowing of His name.
Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness after His Baptism. All three of those desert enticements were intended to knock Jesus off the path to Good Friday. But Satan failed that day. So he went back to work at Caesarea Philippi. If you want to derail Jesus from doing a Good Friday, then why not use an apostle? And Satan did. He used Peter as his mouth. Took Jesus aside and read Him the riot act: “All that suffering and dying talk is nonsense Jesus! We won’t be having any of that! No way will we allow you to be a dead christ. Christs don’t die! Dead christs won’t do us any good!” And Jesus had to rebuke Peter: “Get behind me Satan! Stop tempting Me!”
The pressure builds. The disciples argue about who will be the greatest this very night at the table where Jesus is among them as Servant of all – washing their feet. The contrast is intense. Soon the disciple Judas will arrive with soldiers to give Jesus the kiss of betrayal for some quick cash. All the while Peter, James, and John can’t stay awake and watch with Jesus in the garden. The time has come. Tomorrow is Good Friday. It’s time to drink the cup.
But then there’s the big one – the last one - as Jesus hangs on the cross. The devil comes with his most vicious attack. A huge temptation offered through the two robbers and the chief priests. Through them Satan hides and yet speaks: “Come down. Get off the cross. SAVE yourself!” “Let this Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and BELIEVE!” Wow!
Brilliant temptation! After all, Jesus came down from heaven so that sinners would believe in Him. And now, if He will just show some divine power. Gloriously descend from the cross. Miraculously hop right off and SAVE HIMSELF. “Do that Jesus and we promise – we’ll believe in you!”
In that temptation your salvation is at stake. Could He fulfill His mission to make you believe – but spare Himself the pain and suffering? It doesn’t get any more tempting than this. But Jesus will not give in. He stays put. He hangs fast. Until He dies and atonement is made. Salvation won. Satan defeated. His head crushed. Death put to death. - - There is no condemnation for you. Jesus delivered you from all that. He drank the cup of the Father’s wrath to its fullest. Made sure He got every last drop. Jesus is our Great High Priest. He was tempted in every way as we are. But He did not sin.
“Lead us not into temptation,” - - He teaches us to pray. Jesus is your help in times of temptation. And believe me you need His help. For Satan and his henchmen, the world and your sinful nature, have turned their attention to you! To deceive you. Into false belief especially after you’ve prayed: “forgive us our trespasses.” Satan’s most dangerous attacks go like this: “Jesus didn’t die for you! Your sins are too big for Him! He really doesn’t like you at all! He could care less about you. You can’t trust Him.” All so that you despair of Jesus and His Good Friday salvation for you. Despise God’s Word. Turn to yourself or other false gods.
Or if you won’t buy that he tries the ditch on the other side of the road. “You don’t need forgiveness. Really – what have you done that is so sinful? Your sin isn’t dark and ugly. You will not certainly die. Why would need to drink this man’s blood every Sunday as He asks you? That is for sinners.” All so that you live in arrogance and false security not receiving Jesus as He gives Himself to you.
Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. For these enemies would seduce you further than this. Into hatred and envy – especially of those who are the closest to you. Drunkenness. Greed. Fraud. Love for all things luxurious. The lust for affluence and the relentless ambition to keep it no matter what. Honor, fame and power no matter what the cost. To be on top and kick in the teeth of anyone who tries to displace you. Destroying lives. Yours. Others. Whoever else gets in your way. Tempting you into all kinds of great shame and vice.
So when you pray, say: “Lead us not into temptation.” This is how faith talks. Especially when the temptations come pouring in. Bombarding in. All around. These words are your weapon. Your defense missile against the devil’s attacks. Against the world’s charms. Against the seductions of your own flesh. All these temptations drive you to Jesus. The flesh and blood Jesus of Gethsemane and Golgotha. The very same Jesus who gives you His Body and Blood in the Sacrament this night as the very promise of His victory over all your sin and the wicked powers of the world and Satan.
This Supper tonight provides you with benefits for the long haul. For now in the midst of temptations - and for eternity. Victory now by a clear conscience in the forgiveness of your sins - and victory forever. I want you to hear it again, baptized saints of the Lord: wherever there is forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr