VIII. The second temptation, for Jesus to thrown Himself off the Temple to be caught by God, is rooted in Scripture, Psalm 91: “He will give His angels charge over you, to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Again, the ultimate root of the temptation is putting God to the test, refusing authentic trust that surrenders to God’s will and substituting an examination of God, to see whether He will surrender to our wills.
Benedict notes this was the temptation of Israel in their desert wandering: “Is the Lord in our midst or not?” As he says: “God has to submit to experiment. He is tested, just as products are tested. He must submit to the conditions we say are necessary if we are to reach certainty. … The arrogance that would make God an object and impose our laboratory conditions upon Him is in fact incapable of finding Him” (p. 37).
Instead of this leap from the Temple, Jesus descends into the abyss of death through the Cross, not to test the Father’s power but to entrust Himself wholly to the Father’s loving and saving will. As St. Augustine put it: Humanity fell through pride, but God descended through mercy.