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Temptation of Christ, III
pastor corner

Dr. Lawrence Butler

The Bridge Church, Pembroke

This second temptation of Christ moved into a new area. The first suggestion was to make bread and satisfy the hunger of the flesh (or the lust of the flesh), while at the same time proving His power. This second temptation now moves into a testing of the pride of life.

The three main areas of human failing are identified by John, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:16). Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and suggested that He throw Himself down. It was a challenge to the calling and personage of Christ. Are you really who you say you are? Wouldn’t you like to prove it to everyone?

We don’t know if Jesus physically moved to the temple or simply went there in some type of vision. It sounds as if He was actually there because only then could this have been a real challenge. This pinnacle may have been the place from which our Lord’s brother was thrown to his martyr’s death some years later for his belief in Christ as the Messiah. Isn’t it amazing that Satan found an entrance to the temple, just as he has to churches for many generations? It is his intention to get inside the houses of worship and cause the destruction of ministries and souls through the pride of life. How magnificent our Lord would appear before the Sadducees and the Pharisees, to be able to jump from a tall height and have angels catch Him and protect Him! True, according to Psalms 91:11-12 angels would protect Christ and “bear him up” lest His foot hit a stone. However, that was only in “his ways” that it would occur, when He was following the will of the Father, not when being presumptuous and self-willed.

Christ rejected this second suggestion of Satan because it appealed to the flesh, came from fleshly desire to be promoted and accepted, and not from faith in the Father.

How did Jesus respond to such a temptation? Satan tried using the word of God with a quote from the Old Testament to encourage Jesus into making a mistake. Trusting God is faith, tempting God is presumption. If you don’t quite get the scriptural use of the word presumption, it means to be arrogant, to have headstrong or blind confidence.

It is certainly not a Godly characteristic (II Peter 2:10). Jesus simply turned the Word around against Satan, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Deut.

6:16). Never was a miracle performed to impress someone or win favor with people. The miracles were performed to relieve stress, heal the sick or increase the faith of believers. No miracles were ever performed to ease the suffering of our Lord or to enhance His standing with anyone. The only supernatural exhibition of power shown for Christ occurred at His baptism.

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