Friday, January 21, 2011
The Second Temptation of Jesus
The tempations of Jesus are basically broken down into three human weaknesses.
1. Appetite (Matt. 4:3-4; Luke 4:3-4)
2. Pride (Matt. 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-12)
3. Gratifying of passions for the things of the world (Matt. 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8)
In this post I want to take a closer look at the second temptation. Let us look at it as Matthew presents it:
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Notice that this is the only temptation that Satan used a scripture. It is important to note that the quotion of any part of a scripture the Psalm applies to the situation. Satan was quoting from the 91st Psalm verses 11-12. The Savior would be very familiar with this Psalm as it is a Messianic Psalm and it applies mainly to him and he would have known that. Look several verses later and you will see these this promise,
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I [will be] with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
In this Psalm the Savior is promised deliverance by merely asking for it. He is also promised a long life. Satan is actually tempting the Savior to not go through with the atonement but to ask out of it and to live a long life.
In the Garden of Eden Satan made a tactical error by not having Adam and Eve continue to eat of the Tree of Life which would have frustrated the plan of God by having man live forever in the Garden and never having children. Adam and Eve had two trees to choose from, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As it turned out they partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which brought death and the plan moved forward by Adam and Eve having children and populating the earth. In other words the first man Adam chose death so that man could live.
This time as Satan tempts the second or last man Adam (Christ see 1 Cor. 15:45-47) he is not going to make the same mistake twice. This time he tempts Christ to choose the Psalm that allows him to ask for deliverance and to live a long life.
As we watch the Savior move closer and closer in time towards Gethsemane and Calvary we can see the stress of the atonement weighing on him. Notice his personal admission that allows us a sacred look into his innermost working in Luke 12:49-50,
49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
There is a footnote to the word straitened in the LDS edtion of the scriptures that explains that the word means distressed or hard pressed. The baptism that he is talking about according to Elder James Talmage is the atonement that he must work out. Can you imagine knowing the horrible torment of the atonement is coming closer and closer and the stress that must have been felt on a daily basis until it was accomplished. This scripture is a rare view into his sacred innermost feelings.
Notice how sensitive he was when Peter suggested that he not go through with the atonement and also notice how the Savior labeled Peter,
21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
We can see here that Peter is parroting the same thing that Satan tempted him with on the Mount of Tempations, so the Savior labels him "Satan."
During the last week of his life, as the pressure of the coming atonement grows, we see him utter these words which refers to the promise made to him in the Psalm 91,
27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
Here we can see him struggling with the promise made in Psalm 91 as opposed to the purpose for which he came to the earth to work out the atonement.
When the Savior gets into the Garden of Gethsemane the struggle continues. When he falls to the earth and begins to pray notice that the promise made in the 91st Psalm starts to be his first request,
34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things [are] possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
Here we see the powerful inner struggling of our tender, holy, and brave Savior. He had the strength to utter the words that he was willing to do the will of the Father.
In these scriptures we can see more deeply into the second temptation and the powerful conflict that was going on in our Savior. Working out the atonement was something that appears to have been on his mind every day causing stress and great emotion.
As we stand back and look at the bigger picture we see that the first Adam was a type and a prophecy of the second or last Adam (Christ). The first adam had two trees to chose from. One that allowed him to live forever and the other that brought death. He chose death so that man could live. This then became a type and a prophecy of the last Adam (Christ) who would also go into a Garden and choose death so that man could live. Christ had two Psalms that played a large roll in this drama. The first Psalm as already pointed out was the 91st Psalm. The other Psalm reads diametically opposite the 91st Psalm and is the 22 Psalm. It is also a Messianic Psalm. However, it says that the Savior can cry day and night and not be heard. Note that this is the Psalm quoted by the Savior on the cross when he cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Adam had two trees that stood opposite of each other and the Savior had two Psalms that read opposite of each other but both were Messianic Psalms.