17 February 2010

Driven to Temptation

"The Spirit immediately DROVE Him out into the wilderness." --Mark 1:12

Interesting.  The Spirit drove Jesus out to the wilderness for His temptation.  I thought they walked everywhere. (rimshot)

Seriously, this word in the Greek is the same word that is used of Jesus' activity with demons.  As Jesus drove demons out of people so also the Spirit drives Jesus our to wilderness where He fasts and is tempted for forty days.  Can we say, though, that He was led into temptation?

I find myself scrambling to my Catechism, Small and Large, to look at the Sixth Petition of the Lord's Prayer: And lead us not into temptation.  There I find a beautiful paragraph that helps to explain it all:
This, then, is what "leading us not into temptation" means: when God give us power and strength to resist, even though the attack is not removed or ended.  For no one can escape temptations and allurements as long as we live in the flesh and have the devil prowling around us.  We cannot help but suffer attacks, and even be mired in them, but we pray here that we may not fall in them and be drowned by them. (The Large Catechism, para. 106)
 Yes, the Holy Spirit cast Jesus out into the wilderness but did not remove His presence.  Jesus wasn't abandoned to the wilderness to fend for Himself throughout the forty days of His fasting and temptation.  God's presence was there, tangibly.  The angels were ministering to him (Mark 1:13) but, more importantly, the Spirit was there to comfort and to save.

Temptations are all around us.  "And lead us not into temptation...for we can find ourselves," the old joke goes.  Thanks be to God that His Spirit is there with us in the midst of them.  May we lean upon Him unswervingly.

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