Summary: In Jesus' second temptation we learn that to overcome the pride of life we must place our full trust in God the Father no matter what the circumstances are.
OVERCOMING THE PRIDE OF LIFE
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
Ever since creation Satan has been tempting humanity to sin against God. When going through the wilderness experiences of aloneness, physical or emotional pain, prepare oneself to be tempted by the Devil. The greater the pain the more likely the Devil will show up and tempt the person to pick the path that leads to self-satisfaction. Last week we learned that we have not been given free will to do as we please but instead so that we might be able to choose to obey God the Father in heaven. Jesus refused to give into the lust of the flesh by turning the stones into bread because it was not the will of God but the Devil. In a similar manner we need to live by every word that comes from God. This week we are going to learn how Jesus got victory over the pride of life.
JESUS’ VICTORIES OVER THE PRIDE OF LIFE
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “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.
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Matthew 4:5-7, NIV
For the location of the second temptation the Devil took Jesus to the highest point of the temple of Jerusalem. Since the Devil wanted to get Jesus as close to God as humanly possible there was no better place to take Him than the holy city of David and its temple! After all it was here that the presence, power and protection of God was supreme. To make this event even more spectacular the Devil takes Jesus up to pinnacle of the temple. Situated fifteen stories high, the great height of the Royal Portico or pinnacle was so high that the historian Josephus states “looking down into the valley below made one dizzy.” How much dizzier would Jesus be? After all He was still on a forty day fast!
I am petrified of high places. I remember the year that my father and mother in law helped us renovate the outside of our home. To level the house, replace all the windows, remove all the clad boards, and put on new siding was a monumental task of gigantic proportions! To make matters even more difficult, I had almost no carpentry skills so on my best day I was a somewhat ok helper. While time commitments scared me, even more so did the staging. It was homemade and even though my father in law said it was rock solid, I was still scared. After all, who could trust a platform that bounced when you walked or poles that in my mind swayed in the wind? Each day my father in law would go up the ladder and be as cool as a cucumber while working. For me, after climbing 28 feet in the air all I could do was to crouch, hug the beams and pray that my shorts might stay clean! While my heights experience was scary imagine Jesus on that pinnacle. While we do not know the exact height of the pinnacle of the temple, one can estimate based the 80 foots walls surrounding it that it was at least 180 feet high!. Near physical death balancing on a pinnacle of the temple surely must been scary to the human side of Christ!
While most scholars agree that the pinnacle of the temple was the location of the second temptation, they do not agree if this was a physical or visionary experience. Since there is no mention of spectators and the phrase “If you are the Son of God” links both the first and second temptations, some scholars conclude it was unlikely that Jesus was physically present at the temple and equally unlikely that the Devil was tempting him to prove His Sonship to a crowd. While it is certainly possible that the second temptation was purely inward and visionary, it is equally possible that Jesus was physically transported to the pinnacle. After all, how can one truly be tempted to throw one’s life down and be physically saved when all one is experiencing is a vision? And if there was a crowd physically present why couldn’t Jesus’ temptation be twofold: to tempt God to physically save Him and to prove to the crowd He was the Messiah? Whether one favors the physical or visionary argument one must not lose sight of the fact that this second temptation was a real inward struggle.