Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 4:5
“Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple.” – Matthew 4:5
Over these three days we will be looking at, in Matthew, the temptation of Jesus. There were three specifically mentioned in Matthew 4, which we will address. God sent Him out to be tempted. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1. These three testings’ were not for God to see what happens, for God knows all things. Isaiah said the following regarding this idea. “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9-10. God also is showing the contrast between Adam and Eve and the Christ. Jesus proved Himself by not giving into Satan’s temptation as Adam and Eve did, which was not to God but to the world. Also showing that temptations itself is not a sin, but our response may be.
The second temptation regards testing God. Jesus had thwarted Satan in the first temptation, so now Satan moves on to another. In our focus verse we read, “Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple.” Matthew 4:5. Jesus is now taken to Jerusalem, the Holy City. The word pinnacle refers to an architectural ornament originally forming the cap or crown of a buttress or small turret, but afterwards used on parapets at the corners of towers and in many other situations. It looks like a small spire. Many believe the highest point was the ‘wing’ or ‘portico’, but it is unknown as to the exact place.
Again, Satan uses the conditional statement found in the first temptation. “If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘HE WILL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING YOU’; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.‘” Matthew 4:6. This time, in using the ‘if you are the Son of God’, Satan is now quoting scripture, just as Jesus had done in the first one. The scripture quoted is, “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11. He misused this scripture in his attempt to mislead Jesus. The psalm speaks of times when we find ourselves in difficult times, God is there to help us. This does not mean we should deliberately put ourselves in these situations, but this is what Satan was telling Jesus. In essence, ‘go ahead and jump off this building, nothing is going to happen to you.’ However, we are not to test God by manufacturing a difficulty, which is what voluntarily jumping off the building would be. Jesus said this by quoting another verse in Deuteronomy. “YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.” Matthew 4:7b. Jesus quoted a verse as well, though His was accurate in His rendering and meaning.
As the verse in Deuteronomy says, we must not put the Lord our God to the test. We see this clearly in Exodus. “And he named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?” Exodus 17:7. We must not go to Him seeking proof from Him via some miraculous sign. If a miracle is necessary, He will make it happen. But to do something to make a miracle necessary, such as jumping off the temple, is not good and is simply putting God to the test.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.