“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…”
The word “then” indicates sequence in Satan’s temptations.
the devil took him to the holy city
The “holy city” is Jerusalem. The devil took Jesus from the wilderness in Judah up to Jerusalem for the second temptation.
and set him on the pinnacle of the temple
The devil took Jesus to the highest point of the temple (Solomon’s Porch) towering over the Kidron Valley. It was on the very precipice of the temple overlooking the valley. It was about 300 feet above the Kidron Valley.
and said to him,
The devil gave rational for Jesus yielding to temptation.
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down,
The devil again assumed that Jesus was the Son of God. The words “Son of God” is a title of deity. The word “if” makes an assumption of fact that Jesus is the Son of God—“if, and you are.”
Satan tempted Jesus with the use of His deity: “Prove that you are the Messiah in a spectacular fashion!” This temptation was for Jesus to create His own temptation. The peril did not exist before, but Satan wanted Him to create the peril Himself. This is presumption. Putting God to the test is not trust in God. It is the manipulation of surprise by stupendous sensation.
Man-made sensation ultimately produces bizarre results.
Some people today approach Christianity with man-made sensation. Today’s sensation is tomorrow’s commonplace event. The thrust is to attempt greater and greater sensation. This carries some people into bizarre forms of Christianity.