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.’”
Picture Satan’s offer. A crowd would gather below as Jesus stood on the highest point of the temple. Hear the collective gasp as Jesus jumped to His certain death. Listen to the “oohs” and “aahs” as Jesus’ body slowed just before impact and He landed gently on His feet. Everyone would say, “He’s the Messiah! He’s the one God told us about in Psalm 91. The angels did not let Him die!” The people would accept Jesus . . . according to Satan’s plan, not God’s plan.
Jesus responded to Satan’s scheme by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16. These words of Moses referred to a time when the Israelites wondered whether God was really on their side. In assuring them that God was always with them, Moses exhorted the people to never doubt God’s promises, never put Him to the test.
Jesus came to provide sinful people a relationship with the Holy God. Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). Jesus knew that the Father’s plan did not include an angelic rescue. Rather, it meant being lifted up on a cross, forsaken and alone, paying the penalty for sin. Jesus was willing to trust the Father, even in His weakest moments, even when He knew following God’s plan would lead to His death.
Father, sometimes I like my plan better than Yours. It is often the easier, quicker path and that’s what tempts me. Help me follow Your plan even when it calls for pain and suffering. Help me learn from Jesus’ response to this temptation. Help me be like Him. In Jesus’ name. Amen.