Can a perfect Jesus teach us how to pray about temptation? I thought this was going to be a really simple question to answer. Of course, the answer is yes. Then I started to look for evidence from the Bible to back up that answer. Not the simple, “I know this is true ’cause the Bible tells me so”. That’s too easy. No, I wanted what the Rabbis in Jesus’ time called “stringing pearls” kind of evidence.
I majored in pure math and accounting in college. Worked in IT. Places where you always knew the correct answer, because there were real, solid ways to be sure things were right.
So that’s what I wanted here. Evidence. Not just one saying. Rather, a whole string of them, from both Jewish and Christian Scripture. From various sources. And something that could really tell me how a perfect Jesus can possibly help us far from perfect humans when it comes to temptation, and how to pray about that temptation.
How hard could that possibly be? Well, it turns out, it wasn’t easy. The problem is that it’s so ingrained into pretty much everything, that it’s hard to pick out enough, but not too much. I had to try to walk the line between “’cause the Bible says so” and including everything.
Can a perfect Jesus teach us how to pray about temptation?
This is a work in progress. I started with the assumption I could write it all up in one article. Uh Uh. Didn’t happen. There are just too many important topics. Things I didn’t want to be “buried” inside of the larger topic. And so, I’m going to break it up. The outline, as it stands now, is in the headings below.
Of course, I reserve the right to add more as I go. I've already switched from one to five articles, including this one. So there's no reason to firmly state it won't be six. As they're published, I will include the links below. If you want to, you can come back and check from time to time. Better yet, you can subscribe to the site using the link at either the top or bottom of the page, depending on what kind of device you're using to read this.
Jesus is perfect. We aren’t.
I feel like I like to learn from someone who, if not an expert, is at least more knowledgeable than me. Beyond that though, I like to learn from someone who doesn’t just talk the talk, but who has walked the walk. For instance, in the IT field, I preferred to learn from someone with actual work experience doing what I need to learn how to do, as opposed to someone who only went to school to learn how to do something but never actually did it.
If we carry that analogy to Jesus teaching us about temptation, it gets even more extreme, but in another direction. Jesus never, ever, succumbed to temptation! So can He really teach us about temptation? And when it comes to praying, Jesus is God, so isn’t it easier for Him to pray to His father than it is for us to pray to Him, who we’ve never physically seen, heard, or met?
Yes, inherently, we should be able to learn from Jesus. The Bible does tell us that. Jesus Himself tells us that. But what about for the skeptics out there? What about those who want some more “proof”? Some real-life examples! Some explanation as to why it even should work, let alone does work – to have Jesus teach us to pray about temptation!
We’re going to go all the way back to Genesis for this one. The Garden of Eden. An ultimate fail in the prayer world. And yet, there’s a clue as to what’s coming. Better yet, who’s coming. Jesus.
The role of the High Priest
Yes, the High Priest. And yes, from the Old Testament. Jewish Scripture. And then from the New Testament. And guess who shows up again? None other than Jesus, of course.
Jesus was tempted
As we know, Jesus was tempted. And He didn’t succumb. But was it because He was God? And what does that mean for us?
The Holy Spirit of God
Our look at the Holy Spirit will include the Seven Spirits of God, from Revelation and from Isaiah. And, of course, what was written about the person of God that we know as the Holy Spirit.
Conclusion – Can a perfect Jesus teach us how to pray about temptation?
By the time we’re done, I hope to show that we really can rely on what Jesus taught and showed by example to learn how to pray about temptation. Prayer is our weapon against temptation. So it’s in our best interest to learn how to use it. And the best way to do that, if you’re like me, is to understand some of the hows and whys about it.
I sincerely hope this helps and blesses you, the reader as we go through this. I know it’s already done that for me, and I’m barely started,