Having fasted for forty days in the wilderness, the devil came upon Jesus and tempted him in three ways, including on a mountain and at the top of a tower. Where was this mountain and is it called? Was this an actual event, allegory, or is it just a story? What can we learn from it? (Questions via myfaithinjesus.com).
1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple
6 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.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Having read a few different sources and considered the matter myself, these are the sum total of my thoughts on the issue… please do correct me where you feel I am wrong using the comments below. Please remember these are a collection of thoughts and not educational or quotable material!
The mountain remains without a name because the name is not important. Indeed, the mountain may have even been in the heavens above. The fact that the devil could show Jesus all the nations of the earth in a moment of time is not due to the particular vantage point, but due to the power of the devil to do so. You may as well ask how the devil was able to take him to the top of the tower, or move him from desert to mountain: these are powers within the ability of the devil.
The event is not allegory; it is recorded exactly as it happened. There is no reason to suggest that it is not an account of fact. However, the very fact that it happened was symbolic of two other events. First, it is a re-run of the fall of man in the garden of Eden, in which man fell for the temptation of the devil. This time Jesus, the perfect man, did not give in. Second, it is a pre-run of the end-times during which Jesus will conqueror the devil entirely and reign with power and dominion over the new heavens and new earth.
The bread reminds us of our mortal lusts that pull us away from the worship of God. Recall that the words “grant us O Lord our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive all who trespass against us” are followed by a prayer that God “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”. This reverses the situation entirely; instead of being tempted by the devil to enrich ourselves and having to depend upon our own wisdom or ability, we trust in God to mercifully provide what we need both physically and spiritually, the devil being held at bay by his grace.
The mountain-top view of all the nations of the earth should bring to mind our lust for power. How many godly men have become corrupted by their drive to become powerful and influential? Surely many enter politics and ministry with the most righteous of goals only to end up compromising everything for the acquisition of more power. Patience is greatly commended to us, for it is the saints who hold steadfastly to Christ that shall judge even the angels. That Christ exults those who would be great to become servants to the rest is by no means unfair; for to those who follow his words will truly be given greatness far beyond that which the world can possible provide; for even the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than the greatest prophet born of woman.
From the pinnacle of the tower we might think of another human tendency; that of insubordination. Just as a child who knows the love of his parents will try to direct them make himself their ruler, so too do we have a tendency to try to abuse the love of God and his infinite mercy to our own ends. Even in prayer, we are much faster to ask for favours than to reciprocate the love of God. Although the scripture here reminds us not to test God; when we look further, we see that the reason we should not test God is because to test someone is the action of a master to a subordinate, and never something administered by a subordinate to his master. From this too follows the commandment to honour your father and mother, for to dishonour your parents is to attempt to place yourself above them that gave you birth; just as to dishonour God is to attempt to place yourself above Him who created all of mankind.