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Wednesday in Holy Week

“But deliver us from evil.”

Wednesday of Holy Week is traditionally the day on which Judas went to the chief priests and asked, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” (Matthew 26:15). The serpent’s offspring paid thirty pieces of silver, and their father, the devil, got an inside man.

The Seventh Petition is a prayer against the devil. The Greek says, “But deliver us from the Evil One,” as Luther notes in the Large Catechism. Evil is not an abstract concept, a philosophical lack of goodness, or a nebulous dark force. Evil is an angel, whom God had created good. He corrupted himself with his own sin, fell from heaven, and now prowls around the earth seeking someone to devour.

The Evil One is called “the Devil” (Matthew 4:1), which means “Slanderer,” because he tells you lies about God. The Evil one is called “the Tempter” (Matthew 4:3), because he constantly tries to make you sin. And the Evil One is called “Satan” (Matthew 4:10), which means “Accuser,” because he seeks your everlasting condemnation. There’s nothing abstract about that.

There’s also nothing abstract about the deliverance. We have a concrete enemy, and our Father in heaven rescues us in a concrete way: he has sent his Son in the flesh.

The Evil One slandered Jesus, tempted him, accused him. The devil wrought all the harm he could against Christ. And Jesus bore it all. In the end, the devil’s slander proved false, his temptations powerless, his accusations unfounded. And we’ll hear in the coming days exactly how, through Christ, our Father delivered us from the Evil One.

From evil, Lord, deliver us; The times and days are perilous. Redeem us from eternal death, And, when we yield our dying breath, Console us, grant us calm release, And take our souls to You in peace.

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