He led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle 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 guard You.’”
Satan wasn’t finished with Jesus after his first and second temptations in the wilderness in Luke 4. He came back a third time with a temptation to question God’s timing.
Satan had Jesus stand on the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem. Satan said to Jesus, “Throw yourself down” (v. 9). You may think, “Why would that be a temptation? What person in his right mind would be tempted to jump 450 feet to the ground?” Here is what Satan was saying: “You know, Jesus, God says You have to wait three years to die on the cross, to rise from the dead, and to be worshipped by everybody. But aren’t You tired of waiting? Here’s an idea. Instead of waiting three more years and doing that whole ‘cross and resurrection’ bit, if You really want to attract a lot of people to Yourself, all You have to do is throw Yourself off this temple. God’s Word says His angels will come under You and lift You back up. Everybody will be so amazed that they will say, ‘Wow, He is the Son of God!’ Everybody will believe in You right now and You can skip the cross.” Satan was tempting Jesus to question God’s timing.
Whenever we say, “God, I am not going to wait any longer. I am going to step out, and if You want to stop me, go ahead,” we are questioning God’s timing. By the way, notice that Satan quoted Scripture to support his viewpoint. Satan knows the Bible well, and he knows how to take it out of context. So he quoted Psalm 91: “He will give His angels charge concerning you” (v. 11). He twisted that verse and said, “Jesus, the Bible says God is obligated to protect You, so nothing bad can happen to You. It’s a win-win situation. You jump off the temple, God will protect You, and everybody will see it and believe.”
Have you ever gotten tired of waiting on God and said, “God, I am not going to wait any longer. I am going to do what I want to do. And if You are really there and want to stop me, go ahead”? I remember a time years ago I did that. It was an act of rebellion. I said, “God, I am tired of waiting.” So I moved forward, and the results were disastrous. Whenever you paint God into a corner, the Bible says you are putting yourself in a very dangerous position. Jesus recognized that, and that is why He answered in Luke 4:12, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” You are not to try to manipulate God and make Him act on your behalf; that will backfire every time. Three times Satan tempted Jesus, and three times Jesus resisted him.
God has given every Christian the power we need to say no to Satan, but it is a power we have to harness and develop. John said in 1 John 4:4, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When the Devil Comes Knocking” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2004.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.