Sunday, January 30, 2011

Temptation of Christ: Second Temptation

Second temptation:
Then the devil took him to the holy city Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here..." [Blended Gospels]
The temple was on top of Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Most people think the devil took Jesus to the top of the temple's main tower, overlooking the temple court with an 180 foot drop, where every morning a priest would blow the trumpet to greet the dawn.

What made this even a temptation is found in Malachi 3:1: “the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple.” Many people expected something very like what Satan was suggesting.

If Jesus would just do this, all the Jews would see the Messiah coming in a miraculous way, lifted up by the angels, and they would all believe in Jesus.

Jesus longed for His people to accept the gospel, and to accept Him as their Savior, but He knew their hearts were hard, and that they would reject Him. Look, the devil was saying, you can jump start your ministry with this. You obviously intend to live by the scriptures. But you could fulfill scripture with this! Satan even quoted scripture to really nail it:
"...for it is written,'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" [Blended Gospels]
Jesus did not deny what Satan said, but instead pointed out that what Satan proposed was to test God’s goodness by stepping out of His will, to test God’s willingness to protect Him when He was choosing to be out of God’s design and purpose.
Jesus answered him [and] said to him, "Again it is written, it is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" [Blended Gospels]
The second temptation dealt with presumption – Jesus knew God loved Him and was pleased with Him. Satan quoted scripture to suggest Jesus could do what He wanted and God would end up having to make it work out somehow.

* When you let yourself run late, then drive too fast, you presume on God’s grace to keep you safe and out of trouble.

* When you scrimp on sleep, good nutrition and exercise, then expect God to keep you healthy, strong and sweet tempered, you presume on His grace.

* When you do your own thing with the talents and equipping God has given you and expect Him to bless it, you presume on His grace.

Whenever you and I put ourselves into circumstances that effectively force God to work a miracle to bail us out, we are testing God. That’s sin.

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