The first temptation parallels the Exodus but had its roots in the Fall. By placing a priority on faithfulness to God, instead of giving in to appetite, Jesus recovered the ground that Adam lost at the tree of knowledge. However, to completely bridge the gap from where the human race had descended since the time of Adam, Jesus had to be subjected to two more temptations.
According to Matthew, the second temptation involved Satan taking Jesus to the highest part of the temple, presumably the southeast corner that overlooked a steep ravine. Again came the taunting statement, “‘If you are the Son of God,'” which showed that the tempter was no friend of Jesus.
What is Satan really getting at here? Would it have proved anything if Jesus did jump? (Matt. 4:5-7).
Jesus was not interested in cheap theatrics. His trust in God was genuine, not something contrived to impress others. Jesus’ complete trust in His Father was manifested in His leaving heaven and becoming a human being, suffering the indignation, the misrepresentation, the public humiliation, and the injustice of His death (see Phil. 2:5-8). This was His destiny, and He was fully prepared for it. His mission was to reclaim the world that Adam and his descendants lost. In Jesus, all the covenant promises were to be fulfilled, and the world would have an opportunity for salvation.
Again Jesus responds with “‘It is written,'” again quoting Deuteronomy, and again linking His experience to the Exodus: “‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God as you tempted Him in Massah'” (Deut. 6:16, NKJV). Massah was the place where the Israelites bitterly complained about lack of water, and Moses struck the rock to provide it. In evaluating this experience, Moses stated that the people had “tempted the LORD, saying, ‘Is the LORD among us or not?'” (Exod. 17:7, NKJV). Jesus, of course, knew better and didn’t fall for the trick, even though this time the devil threw the phrase “It is written” (Matt. 4:4, 6) back at Him.