“Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’” vss. 39-40
As he hung dying on the cross Jesus heard again the words of the tempter from his post-baptism days in the wilderness. “If you are the Son of God…” the devil had said, and now the temptation came once more, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” God’s love was being called into question. At his baptism the affirmation had been so clear, “You are my Son, My Beloved. With you I am well-pleased.” Jesus had resisted the temptation in the desert and had clung to the promises of God through his entire ministry. And now there came the last temptation. Would he remain faithful to the end…even though he felt forsaken? Matthew doesn’t give us a defiant word from Jesus, a final affirmation of faith. All we see is suffering and a loud cry…and then death. It’s not a pretty picture. We’d like to think faith gets easier with the passing years and the diminishment of passions. And perhaps for some it does. But for others, the temptations continue until the end of our days. Always there is that voice that calls God’s love into question. “Is faith really all that is needed?” the tempter whispers, and we begin to wonder. The truth is, of course, that faith is all we need…and God’s promise of life is forever, no strings attached!
Thought for the Day: How can I make my faith stronger?