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It's Easter tomorrow so I thought we would jump ahead to Matthew 26, just before Jesus was crucified. He went to Gesthemane to pray and took Peter, James and John with him. He told his companions to sit and watch while he moved away and prayed. Jesus said, my heart is so heavy with grief, I feel as if I am dying. In the Evangelical Heritage Version it says, My soul is very sorrowful, even to the point of death. The New International Version says, My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
I think we gloss over the horrors of what Jesus endured on the cross because it makes us uncomfortable. It was, after all, our sin that put him there. We can't even imagine the physical, emotional and spiritual torture that he endured.
Some versions of this verse say, 'lead us not into temptation.' The original Greek word for temptation can also be translated trials. It could refer to either temptations or difficult situations. Jesus prayed that God would save him from the trial of being hung on a cross if it was possible.
James 1:13 says, Don’t blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn’t use evil to tempt others.
James 1:2-3 says, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
These verses in James also use the same Greek word, which translates and temptation and trial, as in Matthew 6. Regardless of whether these verses are referring to being tempted by sin or tried by difficult circumstances, the fact remains that God doesn't test or tempt us, that's just part of living in a fallen world. When we are tempted and tested it tests our faith and helps us to persevere.
The second part of the verse is a request to be delivered from the Evil One, his temptations, power and influence.
Matthew 5:38-39 says, You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, don’t fight back against someone who wants to do harm to you. If they hit you on the right cheek, let them hit the other cheek too.
In the Old Testament, the law stated that if you knocked out someone's tooth, one of yours would be knocked out as punishment. The moral behind this was that the punishment matched the crime. Jesus commanded us that if someone slaps you on the right cheek, to turn the left cheek to them also. This may seem bizarre but the principle is that we should not seek revenge. Peace and forgiveness should be our objectives. A slap on the face doesn't usually cause much serious damage but it is a source of shame. It's human nature to want revenge when someone hurts us, whether physically or our feelings.
Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, “I am the one to take revenge and pay them back.” The Scriptures also say, “If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat. And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads.”
As Christians, we are not only commanded to not seek revenge, but we are commanded to love our enemies and care for them. That is totally opposite to what the world says. Next time you're tempted to seek revenge, seek peace instead.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.