Overcoming Temptations 4 – Testing God
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
Chan Gin Kai
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” (Luke 4:9-11)
Perched at the highest point of the temple, hair and clothes flapping against the howling wind, Jesus and Satan looked down at the thronging crowd below. If they had shouted out, they would have gathered everyone’s attention. And if Jesus had then taken a leap, his arms outstretched, his body arching gracefully through the air, silhouetted against the roof of the temple and the setting sun, it would have made a photo moment worthy of National Geographic. Now imagine Jesus hurtling down, and angels appearing by his side just before he smashes into the ground. As the cloud of dust dissipates, Jesus stands there with angels flanking his sides, looking resolute as they proudly proclaim, “The Messiah has come”. The crowd would go wild, and the cheers would have been deafening.
It would have been glorious, but against the humble nature of Jesus. It would have wowed the crowd, but not impacted their hearts. It would have been a spectacular but pointless miracle. If miracles could change people’s hearts, the Israelites who had followed Moses out of Egypt would have been the most obedient people. They saw the 10 plagues, the pillar of fire and the splitting of the Red Sea, yet they grumbled against God and worshipped the golden calf during Moses’ absence. Jesus refused to perform a miracle in vain
More importantly, Jesus refused to do anything to test God. This wasn’t part of God’s plan. Satan was essentially telling Jesus to prove that God’s word is true by forcing God’s hand. If he jumped off the roof of the temple, his life would be in peril, and God would have to save him. Jesus has absolute faith in God’s promises and no doubt in God’s love. He didn’t need God to prove His love to him.
God has made promises to us that He didn’t need to. He has assured us of blessings we do not deserve. How ungrateful would we be to demand proof of His love? We are the ones that have been unfaithful and unable to keep to our words. How proud would we be to doubt Him in return?
We need to accept God’s words by faith, without requiring a sign. When the Pharisees and teachers of the law demanded a sign from Jesus, he replied, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.” (Matthew 12:39-41)
Jesus regarded the asking for a sign as wicked. And he emphasised the sign that should erase every single doubt, his death, burial and resurrection. He sacrificed himself for us, so that we can be saved. If that is not enough to prove his love, what else can he do to convince us? He resurrected from the dead. If that is not enough to prove his power, then nothing else can change our stubborn hearts.
We mustn’t test God. Let’s believe in His promises, and never doubt His love.
Read more about 'Overcoming Temptations':
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".