In this week‘s Come, Follow Me lesson, we study Luke 4:1–21. In these verses, Satan presents the Savior with three unique temptations: to turn rocks into bread, to worship Satan, and to jump from the pinnacle of the temple and be saved by angels.
Author and BYU professor Taylor Halverson shared some historical background for the last of these three temptations and explained why understanding this context could make all the difference in our study.
In Halverson’s article, he states that the pinnacle of the temple at Jerusalem was a platform at the top of the southwestern corner of the temple mount. At regular intervals each day, a Jewish priest would blow a loud horn, reminding everyone to pray. The temple was the largest religious structure anywhere in the Roman empire, and just south of it was a huge plaza that bordered the main road through Jerusalem. This plaza was a daily gathering place for thousands of Jews. The pinnacle of the temple stood 164 feet—or 15 stories high—just above where the plaza meets the main road.
Halverson explains, “Knowing its location can enhance our understanding and appreciation for why the adversary tempted Jesus to jump from this location. Imagine the viral story telling that would have ripped through the Jewish society if Jesus had jumped from the most public and visible location anywhere in the Holy Land, the very location where each day Jews were called to remember the saving acts of God.
“Since we know that no one can be saved without confessing that Jesus is the Christ, what more rapid and stunning approach could Jesus have taken to ensure that everyone in His nation knew Him than to jump from the pinnacle of the temple?”
To read insights into why Jesus may not have jumped and other interesting information about the temple read the full article on TaylorHalverson.com.