The next temptation was for Jesus to be taken to the pinnacle of the temple and be told that if he was the Son of God to throw himself down, because God would send angel to protect him.[Matthew 5:5-6.] This is a temptation to by pass the need for faith in his followers, using spectacular gestures and gimmicks to gain support. Jesus rebuffs the tempter by stating the Scripture enjoins us not to put the Lord God to the test. Failing this temptation would mean that Jesus was a mere wonder worker, not one with a challenging moral message.
The second temptation affects many religious ministers, who may be tempted to present Christianity in a gimmicky way, stripped of its challenging moral message and its call to repentance, the change of hearts and minds that the Christian faith requires. A preacher who relies on his eloquence alone without having depth of faith and holiness of life sufficient to preach also falls for this temptation.
The third temptation is the one that I find the most frightening. "Then the Devil took him to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world... all these will be yours if you worship me." This is the temptation to avoid the cross and use all his power to force obedience. It is the temptation to fundamentally misdirect his mission away from God to the service of evil. It is a denial of Jesus' true messiahship. Jesus rebuffs it by telling the tempter that you must worship the Lord God only. At which point the tempter leaves, but he will be back. Jesus is then helped by angels who minister to him.
When you see the evil totalitarian regimes whose tyrants that have benighted the world: Hitler,Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, North Korea etc, you see that the tempter wanted to make Jesus the heart of a brutal regime that misused his powers and constituted a total perversion of his mission. But this temptation still affects Christians whenever Christianity is perverted into a tool of unjust political systems. Maurice Casey's tome, Jesus of Nazareth, which traces Jesus scholarship back through the ages, tells of how the Nazis tried to pervert Jesus' story to serve their cause. Fiebig played down Jesus' Jewishness, and Chamberlain, an English Nazi sympathizer, tried to present Jesus as an Aryan supremist, to name but two perverters of the truth. Yet the Nazis were not the only culprits, for there were those who attempted to hijack Christianity to the service of authoritarian socialism and toadied to Stalin and other dictators. I had personal experience of some such people in my time at theological college, and I found them less than desirable.
Note that after the story of the temptations in Mark's Gospel, where it is very brief and not detailed like it is in Matthew and Luke, Jesus' first healing is expelling an evil spirit. It was after he had conquered the temptations in himself that he could challenge it in others.
For those of you who are interested, if you go to www.frankbeswick.co.uk , my website, you will find a short story based on the temptations of Christ, entitled Genius Loci. It is in the list of latest articles on the right hand side of the page. It is the seventh or eighth article from the top.
Sorry! I edited the website and took off some short stories, as I thought that the site was becoming too diverse. I forgot that I had mentioned it on the temptations of Christ.
frankbeswick, I went through all 17 pages of your website and did not find Genius Loci anywhere among the arboricultural, architecture/engineering, historical, horticultural and religious insights.
Knowledge of Jesus'divinity was slowly disclosed, for at no time did he say that he was divine. His strategy was to make a claims consistent with divinity and do God's work on Earth, finally gaining approval of his father by the resurrection, which confirmed his claims.
I agree. The gospels contain the apostles' experience of Jesus, but of his inner consciousness we know almost nothing.
Well thought through, and well timed. Either the devil had not learned he could not defeat God, or had not yet concluded Jesus is God. One debate is when did Jesus Himself know of His divinity, so it may have eluded the devil as not yet apparent. Jesus was careful about revealing thing slowly.