“Throw Yourself Down”
Jesus could have utter trust that if he fell into danger in the course of living his life and fulfilling his calling the angels of the Lord would take care of him in whatever way he really needed to be cared for, whether or not it meant physical rescue.
That’s faith—and we can have it too. Lord, help us to have it.
But Jesus would not presume upon the favor of God by intentionally doing things that were outside the flow of his faithful life or outside the parameters of his faithful service, thereby daring God to take care of him anyway.
That’s presumption—and we don’t need it, either. Lord, help us not to have it.
As Jesus knew and as Jesus found, there is danger aplenty in just being and doing what God has made us and has called us to be and to do.
If Jesus had thrown himself down from the pinnacle of the temple that day, maybe the angels would have saved him from getting hurt. So Jesus would have had his life saved—but what would he have lost in the process? This much we know: when the time came for him to be lifted up on the cross and he no doubt desperately wanted to cry out for the angels to take him down, to stop him from being hurt, he didn’t do it. And so he lost his life…but think of what he—and we—gained.
Help us, O Lord, to submit in trust to your tender mercies that we can know no matter what happens to us as we try to follow you, even when we have to be hurt, even when we have to give up, and even when we have to die.
Help us, O Lord, never to give in to an attitude that presumes upon those mercies as if we are entitled to them and that pursues them outside the parameters of what constitutes a life lived in the following of Jesus Christ, who came not to save his life but to give it away.
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test”’” (Matthew 4:5-7).