Deliver Us from Evil

- let us not be let into the testing - but deliver us from Evil
- firmly grounded in the life and work of Jesus himself; hopes and fears of first-century Israel, the people of true God
- the night would get darker, when hope had died and fear had conquered, the morning star would dawn at last
- the whole world, with Israel at its heart, would enter a period of tribulation, like that of a woman in labour; from this the new world would be born
- the vessel and vehicle of God’s pain and travail, and of his triumph over evil
- Jesus took this theme and drew its strings together into his own hand
- wherever he went he was faced with opposition; you are those who have continued with me in my trials, my testings
- he stretched out his hands, in obedience, to take the poisoned chalice
- this is what obedience looks like when it stares evil in the face
- Gethsemane suggests the deepest meanings of the prayer: ‘Do not led us be led into the testing, but deliver us from Evil’
- the great tribulation, the birth pangs of the new age, the moment of horror and deep darkness, is coming swiftly towards him
- Jesus knows that he must go, solo and unaided, into the whirlpool of evil, so that it may exhaust its force on him and let the world go free
- Jesus gave this prayer to his disciples, but that when he prayed it himself the answer was ‘No’; he would be the one who was led to the testing, who was not delivered from Evil
- 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
- where he goes, the rest of us cannot follow; the rest of us are therefore commanded to pray that we may be delivered from the power of Evil
- Jesus has met that power and has defeated it once and for all
- what, then is evil, and how are we delivered from it?
- three possible wrong answers: 1) you can pretend that evil doesn’t really exist, 2) to see evil all over the place, 3) self-righteousness; the Sadducees, the Essenes, the Pharisees
- to recognize the reality and power of evil, and to confront it with the reality and power of the kingdom-announcement
- Jesus intends his followers to recognize not only the reality of evil but the reality of his victory over it
- evil is real and powerful; it is present and active within each of us
- a potent force, opposed to God’s good creation
- Jesus’ victory over evil is real and powerful
- to pray ‘deliver us from evil,’ is to inhale the victory of the cross
- what might it mean for us this double clause of the Lord’s Prayer?
- signing on for a struggle and a battle; if you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing
- let us escape the great tribulation that is coming on all the world, do not let us be led into temptation that we will be unable to bear, enable us to pass safely through the testing of our faith
- it is the prayer that the forces of destruction, of anti-creation, of anti-redemption, may be bound and gagged, and that God’s good world may escape from being sucked down into their morass
- you can’t pray these prayers from a safe distance; you can only pray them when you are saying Yes to God’s Kingdom coming to birth within you
- when you are saying Yes to the vocation to go to the place of pain, to share it in the name of Jesus, and to hold that pain prayerfully in the presence of the God who wept in Gethsemane and died on Calvary

[Adapted notes from Wright, Tom. The Lord and His Prayer. London: Triangle, 1996]
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