Temptation, 3 – Luke 4.9-13

“Then the devil brought him to Jerusalem, had him stand on the highest point of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.’” So when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until a more opportune time.”

(NET)

Having been tempted physically and with glory, Jesus is now tempted with timing and structure, so to speak. This temptation comes with the extra layer of demonic deception in the form of the devil quoting Scripture. The devil quotes from Psalm 91 and says, simply, throw yourself off the temple, God will protect you, and then people will love and revere you and accept you as Messiah…

Would a liar have listened? Would a lunatic have listened? If Jesus were out of His mind, maybe He would have listened and bought into the deception. If Jesus were lying about who He was, maybe He wouldn’t have jumped for fear of death but come up with a clever response. However, what He did say again shows that He is no liar and no lunatic:

  “It is said, ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.’”

To jump, knowing that Divine protection would testify to His Lordship and give people irrefutable proof of His identity would, essentially, cut the cross out of the picture (1 Peter 1.20, Ephesians 3.9).

Being tempted to take a shortcut to the ultimate goal is something we will all face. If we are in the habit of taking shortcuts to get where we think we need to go, perhaps we will fall for the temptation to cut God’s plans and purposes for us out of the picture. Rather, let us follow the example of the Lord Jesus here and keep this truth central in our minds when we are tempted to take a shortcut and cut God’s plans and purposes out of the picture,

“It is said, ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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