Matthew 4:5-7 - Then the devil took Him to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command His angels concerning You,' and 'On their hands they will bear You up, lest You strike Your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
The news article said that Kirk R. Jones had "tempted fate."
I suppose some sort of case could be made for that statement. You see, in October of 2003, Kirk Jones entered the swift moving current above the 170-foot tall Horseshoe Falls, which is part of Niagara Falls. People cried out as Jones was swept over the edge and plunged to the rocks below. As had happened so often in the past, police began their preparations to try to recover a dead body.
They were shocked when Jones got out of the river with only a few broken ribs and a bruised spine. He was the first man in history to go over the Falls and survive with just the clothes on his back.
Now the Canadian government takes a dim view of such stunts and they put Jones on trial. He was found guilty of performing an unlawful stunt, fined $3,000 and told he could never come back to Canada. For the next few years, Jones worked for circuses and as a stunt man. Eventually, his exploit was forgotten and he entered semi-retirement in Florida.
Which takes us to April 19th of this year. April 19th was the day Jones tried to repeat his stunt.
This time Jones entered the water inside a 10-foot tall, inflatable rubber ball. Sadly, when the ball was picked up at the bottom of the Falls, Jones was no longer there. The body of the man who had tempted fate was discovered on June 2, some miles downstream.
Now I don't know much about tempting fate. On the other hand, I do know we are not supposed to test the Lord. I know that is true because it is a consistent message in Scripture. In the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:16), the Lord said His people shouldn't test Him. That command was echoed by the Savior in the fourth chapter of Matthew when, at the beginning of His ministry, our Savior was tempted by the devil.
On that day, the Christ replied, "It is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
For a long time, I wondered, as did many of my confirmation classes, just what testing the Lord meant. As far as I can see, testing the Lord has two components:
• First, a person has to approach the Lord with an attitude of doubt rather than belief.
• Second, that person needs to lay down a challenge for the Lord to prove Himself.
If you look at Jesus' trials and death, you will see many such challenges directed at Jesus. The text says Jesus refused to prove Himself to the doubters. After all, why should He? Jesus' miracles, His message of repentance and forgiveness, even the Father's voice from heaven had already shown He was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Believers know that, but if you know someone who still doubts, take them to the empty tomb to see where Jesus passed the greatest test of all.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant us hearts that believe and never doubt. Let us find all we need in Your Word, which points to Jesus as being the world's one and only Savior. In His Name we pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Kate Seamons for Newser on June 16, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written. Please click here
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries