Matthew 6:13 includes the last two petitions in the Lord’s Prayer.
Do not lead us into temptation.
The Greek word here is: peirasmós and can mean temptation, in the negative sense of being tempted to do evil, or in a positive sense, as in “to test”, in the sense of proving something’s worth or value by trying it.
Peirazō is used in the negative sense, as in to “tempt to do evil” in: Matthew 4:3 when Satan tempts Jesus. In Mt 16:1, it is used again, when the Pharisees and Sadducees put Jesus to the test, (also in Matthew 19:3). But, when the Pharisees seek to trap him in Matthew 22, by asking whether it was legal to pay taxes to Caesar or not, Jesus finally calls them out in front of the people in Matthew 22:18 saying 18But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? And so, he silences the pharisees. Note Jesus’ reaction in Mark 8:11-13 , 11And the Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, demanding from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. 12Sighing deeply in His spirit, He *said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation!” 13And leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side. And, so when men attempt to test Jesus with evil intent, we see that he responds with wisdom to silence their lack of wisdom, and a refusal to be manipulated into playing their game, or showing them any evidence that he’s from God based upon their demands that He do so. Finally, in Matthew 22:41-46, and in parallel passages in Mark 12:354-37 and Luke 20:41-44, Jesus assembles the Pharisees together and asks them how, if David calls the Messiah Lord, then how can the Messiah be the Son of David. And because they would not accept that He is the Son of God, as well as the Son of David, they had no answer for him: Mat 22:46 46No one was able to offer Him a word in answer, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him any more questions. So, finally, the result of all of this questioning and doubting Jesus was that these Pharisees were left without the knowledge of Himself as the Son of God, and without faith in Him to be able pay the price for their sins and save them. In each of the verses that translate the Greek word peirazō in the negative sense, it is either Satan doing the tempting, or man doing the tempting.
The Greek word peirazō is also used in the New Testament in a positive sense, as in “to test”, in the sense of proving something’s worth or value by trying it. For instance, in Luke 22:28 28“You are the ones who have stood by Me in My trials; 29and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. So Jesus talks about the testing that He has endured as a man, and that the Apostles are worthy to inherit the Kingdom, because they have stood by Jesus through the trials, as they witnessed how Jesus handled Himself during the trials. Or in 1 Cor 10:13, when Paul assures the Corinthians that No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
We tend to focus on the temptation in this verse, because we can all relate to being tempted. But, if you look at this verse, Paul is trying to get the Corinthians to focus on the fact that, although God will allow us to be tempted, and even use things that may be tempting to us to test us, we are assured that God will always provide a way of escape from the temptation without sinning. We just have to choose the way of escape, and not to give in to the temptation.
And this helps us understand what Jesus is praying for when He asks God not to lead us into temptation. Unlike Jesus, we can sometimes give in to temptation. And so, it’s much better that we pray that God not allow the temptation in the first place.
God can turn a temptation to do evil into an opportunity for good. James 1:12-16. James 1:12 12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. So, here we see the word trial in the sense of a test to establish the true state of our walk with God. Jesus is urging us in the Lord’s prayer in the same way that he urged the disciples at Gethsemane in Luke 22:40 40 Now when He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray, that you do not come into temptation.” Also v. 46).
13 No one is to say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
So, we know that temptation does not come from God. We know that God Himself will not present us with temptation, because God tempts no one. We should support, pray for, serve and love our brethren, but never tempt them to do evil.
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
So, we can be assured that temptation results from our own lusts, whether the lust of the flesh, or the lust of the eye, or even the pride of life. The temptation is not the sin. Jesus was tempted: Hebrews 4:15 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. It is the “being carried away and enticed by our own lust” that is the problem.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it has run its course, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters.
This is inevitable. As sin runs it’s course, it becomes more and more deadly. We think that we can control it, but we cannot.
But Deliver us from Evil
The word But, here is a strong adversative; means that we’re asking God to do something in contrast to the preceding request. This petition asks that God deliver us from any evil we already find ourselves in! This is an appeal for rescue. This word for evil describes that which harms. It describes a painful situation, and emphasizes the pain the inevitably comes from evil. The focus is on we, the disciples, who need delivered from an evil, painful situation. We can ask that God delivers us from all evil, of whatever kind. And, of course we know that these prayers are answered. 2 Tim. 4:18 tells us 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever.