Friday, 15 February 2008

Throw yourself down

Then the devil took him to the Holy City, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written: He has given his angels charge over you. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone". (Matthew 4:5-7)

Seeing that Our Lord was placing his complete trust in divine providence, and seeing he could not break it, the tempter took a different approach. So he supported the temptation with a quotation of Psalm 90, He has given his angels charge over you. Indeed this applies not just to Our Lord but to all who place their trust in God's mercy. However we can hardly presume on and expect his help if we throw ourselves from a height!

But with Our Lord, he did not just place his trust in the divine help, he is that help. For he is co - equal and co - eternal to the Father, and could quite easily command the angels to do what he wanted of them. He is the incarnate word, the divine revelation that was promised to all the seers of Israel. He knew many would reject him. Couldn't it be easier to work this great miracle to convince all that he was the Messiah?

But just as the temptor foresaw the institution of the Eucharist when he said, 'Command these stones to become loaves', in this temptation he was to foresee the moment when Our Lord was raised up on the cross. The taunt at the crucifixion from the scribes and pharisees, "If you are the son of God, come down from the cross!" was the repetition of 'Throw yourself down!' By his power Our Lord could have saved himself then. But for him to save us, he embraced the fullness of the human condition, and become helpless for our sake.

The temptor knew all too well then that for Our Lord to cling to his equality with God would invalidate our salvation, and make the crucifixion in vain. He would be rejecting our mortal state, and no longer would he be the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Our Lord's answer to Satan is also a rebuke: 'Again, it is written,you shall not tempt the Lord your God.' (Matthew 4:7)

1 comment:

Mrs Jackie Parkes said...

I didn't realize that the Devil had such nice legs.