[Luke misses out the Mark segment which Matt includes too : * and the angels came and ministered to Him.]
Then the devil took Him to Jerusalem / holy city, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If You are the Son of God, jump off! (throw yourself down) For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order His angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'”[Ps 91:11-12]
Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.‘”[Deut 6:16]
When the devil had finished [every temptation] tempting Jesus *, he left Him until the next opportunity came.Luke 4:9-13
I dealt with the pterugion in the last Gem and showed you again how you can understand what is going on in the biblical text at a deeper level if you use the various versions available to you so you can see where there are issues to be dealt with. When the versions vary significantly on how they have translated a word or a section it indicates there is depth in the original text that needs some investigation. It doesn’t matter whether you have ability in Hebrew or Greek, with the tools available to us free through a programme like E-Sword [http://www.e-sword.net] you can do some deeper investigation. There are commentators who question what the pinnacle of the temple means and even if there was a place for Jesus and the devil to stand. This leads them to question if this temptation occurred in real life or inside Jesus head, i.e. in His thoughts or imagination. As if it were not real. Let me say at the beginning that with temptations, it matters not whether they are real, touchable, concrete challenges or if they are happening in our head. Note the quotes in the last Gem related to peace and anxieties or fears. They are still very real. They are not imagined. Temptation most often starts in our minds then works its way out into action and practice when we succumb to it. Don’t feel guilty when you are tempted and / or tested. We are all tempted. Temptation comes to us bodily and it comes to us mentally. It’s when we give in to it that the problems come. Just because you were tempted doesn’t make you some kind of second class citizen. It is what you do with it that determines your end result.
I think it is funny when the commentators debate whether this was a bodily temptation of Jesus or just in His mind. It is like they lose touch with reality. Duh, it matters not whether the temptation was in your body and you are faced with a real physical temptation before you: eating that last bit of cake, taking that extra drink, responding to that woman’s text message. It’s temptation. It is just as much a temptation when the devil comes in like a flood to our thought life and causes us to doubt the Word of God – “Did God really say . . . ?” or heighten our panic over fears we have. It is still temptation and just as real as any other way in which temptations may come. Come on commentators, get a grip on reality. Temptation comes in all sorts of ways.
Was this pinnacle of the temple temptation real or imagined? Were Jesus and the devil really standing on the pterugion of the temple looking down from the Royal Portico to the rocks of the ravine 140 metres below or not? Did the devil take Him there physically or in His head? It matters not. It matters not for you whether it is physical or in the mind; it is still a real temptation. It still has the potential to be translated into action and become sin then lead to your eternal death. Watch out.
The question of which of the temptations came first and which last is irrelevant. Oh yes Matthew and Luke are saying something in the way they order the temptations. There is something more to be gained when we ponder the order and the changes in order between each gospel. But bottom line, each temptation is real. It is highly likely that Luke has changed Matthew’s order (or the accepted way these stories are ordered – the oral tradition) to put them in the order in which they happened chronologically. Wilderness temptations first then off to Jerusalem to the temple. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Jesus and satan could have been going to these places physically by “Philip’s transport” or in the mind or in the spirit. Call it what you like. Transcending the normal process of the body and going there instantly like Philip in Acts 8:39-40 or like the disciples in the boat in John 6 (Bible Gem 50). They may have been taken there by the Spirit or they may have gone there in Jesus mind.
Imagine for a moment being in the desert/wilderness and being in a place which was highly significant in the worship of Israel. Places where things happened that were significant to the worship of the people of Israel in the past. I have taken you to some of them through the Bible Gems. Now you ponder some of them for yourself. Let God remind you of places where significant things happen in the worship life or worship lessons of His people. For me one significant worship place is outside a hairdressing salon in Matamata NZ (Bible Gem 542). In the lives of the people of Israel there were many places which would have prompted trips down memory lane in terms of worship. What I am getting at here is that satan could well have taken Jesus to the physical place of “a worship memory of Israel” or reminded Him of that place and its significance in terms worship. And then said, “I will give you all the kingdoms if you will worship me.” Conversely Jesus could have been there in the wilderness worshipping at one of these sites when satan came along and whispered “I will give you all the kingdoms if you will worship me.”
Make sure you take time to connect up the dots with the Bible. It is the whole book we are dealing with not just the little portions we like to read. When you connect the whole far more truth comes to you – the WHOLE truth and nothing but the truth. This is one reason why in Deeper Bible I am teaching people to learn to use the right side of their brain as well. Let God speak to you through your imaginations, wistful moments, remembrances, word pictures, visions, dreams and however else He chooses to open you up to His voice. Paul says: I will pray with my spirit, I will pray with my mind. I will sing with my spirit I will sing with my mind. Learn to ponder with your spirit as well. Learn to imagine with your spirit as well as your mind. God will speak volumes to you.
But beware, satan may try to get to you that way as well; through your unsanctified imaginations. I didn’t plan to go on for so long on this; I hope it was helpful. Next Gem we will investigate the Frivolous Temptation.
It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.Albert Einstein
More important than the answers I give you are the questions I stir you to ask.Ian Vail
Left Brain: rational, logical analytical. Right Brain: imaginations, dreams, visions, feelings, impulses. Learn to use the right side of your brain as well.Ian Vail