Allright, last thing on that second temptation.
I think another facet to this desert trial is in the devil tempting Jesus to display to the world his special favor from God. Jesus is God’s Son. He is God’s anointed. God loves Jesus and approves of Jesus and is living in Jesus and doing his will through Jesus. And Satan tells Jesus to go ahead and jump off the temple roof to prove it. Show everybody just how special you are. Exhibit just how close you are to the Father. On the big stage, in front of all these people. Show ’em!
I think the temptation is very real for us, too, to display to the world what we may perceive as special favor from God. Nothing can hurt us. We belong to God. We’ve got baptism figured out. We know about acappella singing. We’re certain of when to take the Lord’s Supper. We’re invincible. We are truly God’s people. We’re in the right!
And we jump off theological roofs with nothing to hang on to but a couple of verses taken grossly out of context, completely ignoring the fact that the grace of God that covers us in our mistakes and misunderstandings covers other groups of disciples in their mistakes and misunderstandings.
But we don’t need his grace for everything. We’ve got this part figured out.
Talk about testing God! I wonder sometimes why he doesn’t just let us hit the bottom of the Kidron Valley floor.
Yes, we are special. But we’re no more special than any other group of Jesus followers who put their faith in our Christ.
Yes, our Father will guard us carefully. Yes, he will lift us up in his hands so that our feet will not strike a stone. We know that. But we never use it as a point of pride with others. The Jesus Way is one of great humility and dependence. We don’t test our God. We trust him.