The devil tempted Jesus to throw himself off the temple, because surely the Father would send angels and bail him out.  We are being tempted the same way: we are being tempted to believe that we can act contrary to happiness and still be happy.  Notice that the temptation is to throw oneself off the temple.  To personally choose to abandon the place full of Heaven’s order, the place that is the most set apart from and distinctive from the world.

But there is one key difference between Christ’s temptation to throw himself off the Temple, and ours.  Christ’s temptation was an adolescent temptation.  He was being challenged to prove himself and test whether God really loved him.

Ours is a child’s temptation–the temptation to feel entitled to God’s love and care and take His acquiescence to whatever we want for granted.  We are being tempted to think that if it would be difficult or unpleasant or even delayed gratification to not throw ourselves off the temple, of course God will make it OK if we do.

Granted, the scriptures do say that “of such [little children] is the kingdom of heaven.”  Trust and confidence in God’s love and goodwill are essential.  But they also say that we are to “become as a little child.”  Become means that we are first to be in a state where we are not little children.  We are supposed to grow up first.  And as means we are not supposed to revert completely to childishness and lose our progress to adulthood.  We are supposed to acquire adult habits of agency, choice, responsibility, goals and then add childlike trust and confidence to them.  It is similar to Owen Barfield’s notion of Final Participation.

Our temptation is to think we can do whatever we want, because Daddy will bail us out.  We think we are special.  We forget that from these stones God can raise up children unto Abraham.  Our Father, full of love, has a ruthless streak and holds us in judgment.

“Their stewardship let another take.”

Other Posts on the Temptations of Christ

The Tempation of Jesus and God’s Knowledge of our Minds and Hearts, from Bruce Charlton

The Symbolic Meaning of the Temptations of Christ


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