February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’”—Matthew 4:5–7 (NIV)
Today’s passage focuses on the second test: an appeal to the pride of life. The devil had already tempted Him once to turn stones into bread. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness while He was fasting for forty days and forty nights.
Notice the contrast between this chapter and the previous one when He was baptized. He was surrounded by the cool waters of the Jordan among huge crowds of people while the Spirit rested on Him like a dove with the voice of the Father calling. Now, He stands in the desert in silence with the Spirit leading Him into solitude while He’s being constantly attacked by the enemy to perform acts out of a magic show!
Nothing is impossible for God” (Luke 1:37), and He certainly isn’t fooled to fall into the literal trap of the enemy. If Jesus can do anything, why be tested? Why would the Father allow His Son to be tempted? Why would the Spirit lead Him there?
The Spirit cannot tempt us (James 1:13), but it can lead us into a place where our faith can be tested. We don’t need to prove anything to God, after all He is Alpha and Omega and already knows the beginning and the end. He knows what we’re going to have for dinner in two weeks or where we plan to go on vacation five summers from now. Instead, we’re tested because it’s part of our growth in our faith walk. Now, Jesus doesn’t need to grow in character . . . He’s the Son of God! The Spirit led Him there so Jesus could identify with us (Hebrews 2:18) and exhibit His own sinless character (Hebrews 4:15).
“But let us do what we will, we shall be tempted. God had one Son without sin, but He never had a son without temptation.”—Charles Spurgeon
For this second test, they’re 200 feet from the floor of the Kidron Valley. Satan dares Jesus to jump off the highest point of the temple. Had Jesus obeyed, it would have been a spectacular leap and an angelic show for all to see!
This test forced Jesus to use God’s supernatural powers in His human body. Could He have jumped? Sure. But Jesus had discernment and knew Satan’s game. He had nothing to prove to the devil because He knew the devil knew the truth. Satan even quoted Scripture (Psalm 91:11–12), but he took it out of context. If Jesus had jumped, He would have done so outside of His Father’s will. It would’ve been a fake ploy for self-promotion purposes and communicated that Jesus didn’t trust His own Father if Jesus had to put Him to the test of sending angels to save Him.
This is NOT how God operates, and Jesus knows this. So, Jesus responded with another verse: “You shall not tempt the Lord Your God” (Deuteronomy 6:16 NKJV). For once in this passage, Scripture isn’t misquoted or taken out of context.
We’re not to ask our God for extravagant displays of His love because He already did once (Romans 5:8) . . . and it was enough. He sent His perfect Son to die on the cross for our sins, only to rise up from death and come back to life three days later. That’s the greatest gift we could ever receive and the only proof of His love we need.
Pause: This passage proves that anyone can quote Scripture, but it doesn’t mean they’re a student of the Word of God. What habits need to change in your life so you can become a student of the Word?
Practice: Memorize Scripture. Start by memorizing the Romans road (Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 8, and 10:9).
Pray: Lord, help my unbelief. Sometimes I doubt, I fear, and then I fail. Help me get back up and train my mind and my heart to fully surrender to Your will. Whenever I find myself being tested, may I rely on Your strength and endurance so I can win against the schemes of the enemy. Jesus, thank You for becoming human like me and showing me how to remain in communion with our Father daily. You are more than enough, Jesus. Amen.
Alessandra (Ally) Velsor has been part of the Calvary Chapel staff since 2009. Because her family owned various restaurants growing up, she determined to do something else and got a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication. But… never say never…
She served in The Grill at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale for 14 years as a server, restaurant manager, and catering manager. She’s currently serving as the cafe supervisor in the Plantation campus. She met her husband, Kenny, working at The Grill and married him in 2011. They have two amazing children Joshua and Sunny.