Jesus' Temptations #2: Go ahead and jump
Perspective for the teacher.
The point of the second temptation is to offer Jesus the chance to force the Father’s hand and give Jesus a cross-free trip to being Messiah. The goal for the disciple is to see the ways we try to put God to the test by demanding in our hearts that He show He loves us without our needing to go through trials and hurts. We long for a safe invulnerable Christianity, but He has told us that it is our actual sufferings that He will use to change the world.
Once again, start by reading Matthew 3:13-17
Review: What do you think it felt like for Jesus that day? How does it feel when the Father so richly rains down His approval of Jesus?
(Amazing. Accepted. Loved. Like everything is right with the world.)
Now read Matthew 4:5-7
What is the Temple in the Jewish world? If Jesus were to jump off who would notice?
(Everyone, because it is the very center of Jewish worship and cultural life. )
Psalm 91 (the one Satan is quoting) is a Messianic psalm, so Satan is asking Jesus to prove once and for all that He is Messiah. Obviously, tempting Jesus to jump off a building is a weak temptation. But what would have happened that day if Jesus would have jumped from the Temple?
(Everyone would have hailed Him as Messiah!!! At least, this is what Satan wants Him to think and feel... )
What events would not have happened?
( No rejection, no accusations, no false trial, to betrayal, no crucifixion, no salvation. Help the group see: So Jesus would have proved that He is Messiah but saved no one.)
Now look again closely. Satan began this temptation by questioning whether He is really God’s child. Remember again that Matthew is contrasting this with Jesus standing in the river. Hasn’t God already declared that Jesus is His son? So what has changed since then that would make it tempting to prove it again?
( In the river, it must have felt so close and so good. But now the Enemy is questioning it. If Jesus just puts the Father to the test, he can make the Father prove to EVERYONE who He is. )
Conclusion and questions for the group:
What is it like for us today to question whether our Father loves us when we are going through the pains of life? At work? In our marriages? At school? With our children? Where else? Why is it challenging to believe that He can use the hard things to change the world?
(This question is a great opportunity to visit Jesus’ command to join Him by taking up our cross and following Him. )