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Luke 4:9 - Exposition

And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple. In St. Matthew Jerusalem is here called "the holy city," a name still preserved in the East, where it is still termed El-Khuds, the holy . Pinnacle; literally, "wing" of the temple. "Pinnacle" comes from the Vulgate translation, pinnaculum. The part of the great building evidently referred to hero was that magnificent southern wing of the Lord's house constructed by Herod the Great, which was known as the royal portico. Josephus calls it the most remarkable building under the sun ('Ant.,' 15.11. 5). One who stood on the roof of this portion of the temple would look from a dizzy height into the Valley of the Kidron. Such a spectator, writes Josephus ('Ant.,' 2.5), "would be giddy while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth." To this spot, "whether in the body or out of the body" we cannot tell, Jesus was taken by the evil spirit. "Now," said his tempter, "if you really are what you seem to think, cast thyself down. You know what is written in the Divine writing, how the Eternal would give his angels charge concerning thee, they were to bear thee up, 'lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.' If thou art he of whom all this is written, there will be no risk. You are sure that you are the Son of God: try this once, and see. If you triumphantly come out of this trial, all men will recognize you, and your reign as Messiah will commence forthwith." This temptation was of a more subtle nature than the other two. It appeals again to all ranks of men, and warns them of the sore danger of selfishly courting danger. The angels will ever watch over us with a tender care when, to accomplish a duty or to perform an act of self-denying love, we confront peril; not so when we presumptuously and for our own ends rush into danger.

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