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]Luke 4:9-13
What an interesting temptation? What is the point of the temptation? It is seems so frivolous. Why would Jesus be tempted to throw Himself off the high point of the temple? What is the purpose of hurling Himself down into the Kidron Ravine? Or is it as some suspect that he would spectacularly land safely below among the crowds around the temple. Is the purpose for Him to demonstrate that He is the Messiah by showing to the gathered throngs in Jerusalem, the one city in the world who were waiting for the Messiah, proof that He was the one they were waiting for? But all that would do is prove He was some kind of miracle worker. It is hard to see how that involves the temple as such. Some commentators say there was a traditional saying or expectation that Messiah would appear on the roof of the temple. I don’t think that is what is behind this temptation. If it were why on earth is Jesus being encouraged to leap into the Kidron Ravine. There was no-one there to witness what was to happen. No, they say He would leap into the outer courts where all the people are gathered. No it doesn’t sit well with me. What do you think? It has to be more than grandstanding. Jesus resisted all other attempts by everyone to get Him to grandstand and simply draw a crowd. Besides, it would draw the wrong crowd. It is easy to draw a crowd, just give them what they want. Appeal to the fleshly side of their nature and pander to their desires. But easy come; easy go. They will soon desert you when you no longer please them. Jesus came for more than that.
Is this test for Jesus alone? Is this another test like the first temptation? Can you really trust God to take care of you? He (God) had just declared previously at Jesus baptism “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Oh yes He said it, but did He really mean it? Satan loves to ask “Did God really say . . . ” The age old taunt that Adam and Eve heard. Is this another echo of it? Once again, I don’t think so. There has to be more to it than trying to get Jesus to doubt who He is. Or doubt whether Father God will really do what He says He will.
Is there another angle to solving this mystery? Notice in this case satan quotes Scripture. In the other two temptations it is Jesus who quotes Scripture to counter satan. But on this occasion it seems satan has learned to quote Scripture himself. Remember I have told you before to look up the context of verses quoted from the Old Testament. It is not just a case of recognizing, “that is a quote from the Old Testament”. It is a case of checking out the context from which it came. When Jewish rabbis quoted the Jewish Scriptures their hearers had large portions of the passages memorized. A quote was merely a pointer to the passage it came from. The speaker knew the hearers knew the context. Many times the Rabbis would quote a passage close to the one they actually wanted their hearers to think about. Students of the Torah were taught to look for the allusion. They were trained to know the verse but also to know the context. To use the verse to point to the context. That must be what is going on here. Take the time to look up these references, both the passage satan used and then the passage Jesus is referred to.
Let this principle be a guideline for you in your handling of the Old Testament as it is found in the New. Don’t just think “Oh yes, Old Testament.” Always check it out. We are at a disadvantage because we don’t have large chunks memorized. I will give you time to check it out: a whole day. Look carefully at the whole passage to determine what is going on. I am not telling you something I already know the answer to. I am giving you the clues or the direction which I myself then apply to see if it yields the connection necessary to solve the problem. Bible study is a case of following the clues, the leads. That is why it is so much fun. God doesn’t give up His secrets to those who are mildly interested. He says “You will seek Me and you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart”. Bible study is not for the half hearted or the mildly interested.
Your experiences are educating you for your assignment! They are not a waste!Rick Godwin
Branches that hang closest to the ground are ones most heavy with fruit. The more gifted you are, the more you need to be down to earth!Rick Godwin
Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.Pascal Lasmana
All is mystery; but he is a slave who will not struggle to penetrate the dark veil.Benjamin Disraeli
Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.Roald Dahl
“and the Grinch stood puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons, it came without bows. And he puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore.Dr Seuss
Then the Crinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if the Bible doesn’t come from a store? What if it always and ever means a little but more.Ian Vail (with apologies to Dr Seuss)