Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
5Then the devil took him up into the holy city, set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He shall give his angels charge over you, and, in their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone."7Jesus said to him, "It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy6:16; Psalm91:11-12)


When the head of a state visits a confederate country, he is generally well received. Soldiers stand in formation, students present flowers, flags are streaming, music is played, officials appear in their official dress, crowds are racing from other countries to watch the political, religious and sporting festivals. One finds himself surrounded by mass unity.
The devil tempted Jesus with a grand vision, seducing Jesus to imagine himself flying with the clouds, surrounded and held up by tens of thousands of bright angels, so that the crowded multitudes might bow their heads and worship him. The devil tempted Jesus to perform his Second Coming prematurely without shedding his blood on the cross. There is nothing more hateful to Satan than the cross. The temptation was delivered in the heart of the religious culture of his nation, from the highest point of the Temple.
Do not think that you, dear brother, through your gathering under a church’s banner, are protected from evil thoughts. Within the heart of holiness, the Father of Lies tempts those who listen to the word of God, striving to turn their thoughts away from God to their proud self so they sin and fall.
Satan's biggest aim in tempting Jesus and his followers was to cut off their communion with God. He repeated his attempt to put doubt into the heart of Jesus saying, "If you are God’s Son, throw yourself down amidst the worshipers, and they will recognize you and shout: 'The Christ of God has come down from heaven.' Then the world will follow you, and there will be no need of the cross." The crafty deceiver added, from the Holy Bible, "it is written." He omitted part of what God said twisting its true meaning. The Biblical promise is: "For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways." The tempter omitted the last part, "to keep you in all your ways." In the first temptation, Jesus overcame Satan with the same words, "it is written", and then continued quoting the word given by the inspiration of God. Satan used the same style, but he made untruth out of the truth. Christ engaged in spiritual warfare with Satan quoting God's word, which is life to everyone who trusts God, submits to him and does not doubt that he is with them. Reluctance in believing God or doubting the truth of his word is a sign of unbelief. The children of Israel tested God in the wilderness saying, "Is the Lord among us or not?" (Exodus 17:7) even though he was among them to care for them, but they did not believe. We would be like them if we doubted the presence of God with us and his complete care for us.
There is no city on earth so holy as to exempt and secure us from the Devil and his temptations. The first Adam was tempted in the "holy garden"; the second Adam was tempted in the "holy city." Therefore let us not be caught off guard. Do not think that a "holy place" has great advantages and the Devil will not tempt the children of God with pride and presumption there. But blessed be our God for the holy Jerusalem in the heavens where no unclean thing shall enter; there we shall be forever without temptation.
So, beware! For the wicked one is well versed in scripture and is able to quote it readily. But he uses half-truths and twists the meaning to keep you from experiencing God's fullness.
We find many books in the world, whether religious, philosophical or political, which use the words of the gospel and the principles of God’s given inspiration with an attempt to mix the truth with biased lies. Dear brother, discern the spirits carefully, and know that every haughty spirit is of the devil, and that whoever honors himself is not of God.
If Christ responded to the temptation of the devil, and agreed to show himself in a great manner, throwing himself down, he would have died because he did not do the will of God. God does not want to win people through miracles but only through the cross. If Jesus took heed to the voice of the devil, he would have been leaving his communion with his heavenly Father. The Evil One intended to destroy the Son of God but Jesus could distinguish the voice of the devil from the voice of his Father and chose the way of humbleness and truth. He did not appear in the glorious Temple first, but he served in Galilee, being despised and discarded by many of the Jews.
Pinnacles of the temple are places of temptation. They represent high places of the world that are slippery. Advancements in the world lift man's pride and makes him a fair target for Satan to shoot his fiery darts at. God casts down, that he may raise up—the devil raises up, that he may cast down.
Jesus answered the tempter once again decisively saying, "It is written again, you shall not tempt the Lord your God." All those who know that God does not agree to their intended acts and yet seek his help in their daily life, are tempting God through their stubbornness and are opposing his spirit. They will certainly experience his wrath in the end. Do you have the ability to distinguish the voice of God within your heart? Do you know his love, his kindness, his purity and his humbleness? Do not carry out anything that may oppose his purposes. It is not for the benefit of man to act against the voice of his Spirit-led conscience. If you do not know what is the will of God is in a particular situation, then be patient and wait until he opens another door for you and explains to you what he wants you to do. Follow Christ and do not tempt the Lord your God.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus, I thank you because you did not seek power and authority, but you sought the way of humility. We see you with the sick, with the sinners and with the least esteemed. You sought those who were perishing. Please teach us to die to our haughtiness, that we may not be arrogant among our friends, but deny ourselves, seek the poor, and bless the lost, to be in agreement with your salvation.
Question
Why didn't Christ throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple?