Cast Not Thyself Down

A Rare glimpse of an intimate and sacred experience in the life of Jesus is given in the Scriptural account of his temptation in the wilderness. He himself must have told this to the disciples in moments of sweet confidence, perhaps better to impress them with the necessity for steadfast allegiance to God in times of trial.

After he had been baptized by John and had received the Father's assurance, "This is my beloved Son," the longexpected Messiah, Jesus went into the wilderness, a quiet place, that he might meditate and seek divine guidance in the all-important work which was before him. In recounting this experience of the Master, Matthew writes of one temptation: "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 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." It is interesting to note Satan's suggestion that Jesus cast himself down. Evil has no power to affect us without our consent.

During this period of mental conflict many arguments, no doubt, presented themselves to Jesus, suggesting different methods by which he might inaugurate his work. He was familiar with the prophecies concerning the Messiah. He knew the opposition and persecution which he would encounter, and the human element in him most likely urged the easy way. Should he go to Jerusalem and do something spectacular and startling in order to attract attention? No; he was firm in his refusal to lower the spiritual standard and drop to the level of a mere wonder-worker. The tempting thought of worldly honor and riches he likewise disposed of decisively. His work was to reveal genuine spiritual selfhood and to teach men how to maintain this selfhood in the midst of evil's seeming activity. The great Master silenced every suggestion that he invoke divine power for selfish purposes.

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May 25, 1935

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