Luke 4: 1-13
Be careful of the high points.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.”
The high point of who he was: If you are the Son of God, then you can do anything and it is certainly justified because you have needs, you are hungry. Jesus knew he was the Son of God, the devil knew and so took him to that high place of identity. There is nothing more disturbing or toxic than a group of leaders at whatever level fighting over their positions and titles. Jesus the good Shepherd calls us to lay our lives down.
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
The high point of ambition: if you stop acknowledging the Father you can achieve anything and far less costly. Jesus knew that to gain the whole world from the authority of the devil he would need to pay the cost. Cheap ambition is the desire to gain without dying first. Jesus tells us that we should only submit to God.
9 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. 10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” 12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
The high point of demonstrative power: if you step out, be bold, be remarkable, just show you can, you trust, who you are, then God will match your level of faith. How so often we are encouraged by conferences, books and other stories to demonstrate that we can and that we are as good as anyone else. Our social media statuses need to match the next. We also need to be great. The testing of our faith can be done by ourselves to demonstrate we are powerful and it is a test we usually fail at some point down the line.
The devil’s temptation of Jesus began at the high points. Be careful where he leads you.