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: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone
The diabolos makes his second “proposal” or “temptation”. The devil tempts Jesus as son of God. For the first time emerges the profound nature of Jesus. Christians discovered the Jesus’ divinity after he had risen (see Rom 1:4). Behind the temptations we must also recognize the difficulty of Christians and of the primitive Church to confront a hostile world that wanted signs to believe in Jesus as son of God.
One of the strongest and most subtle temptations is undoubtedly to see things out of the ordinary to overcome boredom. It maybe, we would like the Pope to take an historical decision that would make history turn suddenly towards the deserved public recognition of the Christian faith. He should sell all the golds of the Vatican; he should order priests and religious to open the doors of parishes and convents to host the poor. Things happen, but slowly. Boredom is part of the life.
What the devil suggests is something possible for Jesus, but this is not what Matthew is interested in. Perhaps, the early Christians – sometimes even persecuted – would have wanted a glorious and powerful demonstration from God, which would convince an unbelieving world of the divinity of Jesus and his superiority over all the divinities of that time. But all this was a temptation, or rather a dangerous illusion. Yes, because those who think that, sooner or later, Christ himself will come to avenge all his followers of the sufferings suffered are on the wrong path. Of course, the Church says that one day Christ will return, but let us not forget that he can return even now, in those who know how to close their eyes and begin to seek within themselves the answers that they seek outside.
And if Jesus had really cast himself down? What it would have happened if the angels really had held him up? Matthew suggests that such an eventuality would have been a victory of the “devil” and not of Jesus. God who lives within us doesn’t need to manifest himself publicly to make it clear that he exists. In fact, he manifests his glory and his power ONLY before our eyes, every day. But it is the beauty of the eyes that have discovered God that which can give strength to words and new light to times and spaces full of boredom.