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The Desert Wilderness

You shall not put the Lord your God to the test
Luke 4:1-13

Sermon Topic Temptation

Sermon Week First Sunday of Lent Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 4:13


A former Boston University President owned a very alert little dog named Clifford. Clifford had several good tricks in his repertoire, and he loved cheese. More than meat and bones, he loved his cheese. Clifford learned a little routine in which his master would tempt him with a generous piece of cheese placed between his paws, saying, "Now Clifford, you understand this is a matter of trust." (In other words, don't eat the cheese.) Whereupon, Clifford would turn his head to one side, getting it as far away from the temptation as possible. He would hold this position until the master said, "Okay, Clifford" and Wham! Gulp!: down went the cheese.

"Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." The sixth and last petition of the Lord's Prayer is, for many of us, the most difficult to comprehend. A post-graduate student who was working toward his doctor's degree in Theology, discovered this to be true when he appeared before the faculty to present his thesis. He says,

It was like one of those "Charley Brown" experiences. You feel as though you don't have a chance -- the kite won't fly, you'll never win the ball game, you're going to fail! I, the lonely candidate, was sitting on one side of the room. My thesis, which had taken months and months of my life to prepare, was laying on a little table in front of me. And ranged around me were the faculty examiners, ready to tear it apart and to prove that I didn't deserve the degree. I had prepared for this moment not only by thoroughly immersing myself in the subject matter but also by learning some of the tricks of the trade. One thing you can do is try to get faculty members arguing among themselves. Well, the questions started coming at me and the faculty members did some arguing among themselves. Then, like a bolt from the blue, the Dean of the faculty cleared his throat and changed the subject. He asked me to explain the sixth petition of the Lord's Prayer. It caught me [...]

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