Do Not Lead Us Into Temptation – Jesus in the Desert
Matthew’s temptation account is otherworldly. Satan and Jesus meet in three staged encounters that occur outside the normal run of the Gospel story. Interpreters are aware that the temptation account is not intended to be a literal report, but a narrative that functions symbolically and metaphorically to reflect upon a very difficult subject.
The account begins in an unsettling fashion: “Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil” (4:1).2 Later when Jesus teaches the disciples to pray the “Our Father”, the penultimate petition will be: “lead us not into temptation” (6:13). It seems that Jesus’ own prayer is unanswered here.