Plainly the point of this last temptation was the suggestion that Jesus should, of His own accord and needlessly, put Himself in danger, expecting God to deliver Him. It looked like devout confidence; it was really ‘tempting God’.
It looked like the very perfection of the trust with which, in the first round of this duel, Christ had conquered; it was really distrust, as putting God to proof whether He would keep His promises or no.
It looked like the very perfection of that worship with which He had overcome in the second round of the fight; it was really self-will in the mask of devoutness. It tempted God, because it sought to draw Him to fulfill to a man on self-chosen paths His promises to those who walk in ways which He has appointed.
We trust God when we look to Him to deliver us in perils met in meek acceptance of His will. We tempt Him when we expect Him to save us from those encountered on roads that we have picked out for ourselves. Spiritual pride, the belief that we may venture into dangers either to our natural or to our religious life, where no call of duty takes us, the thrusting ourselves, unbidden, into circumstances where nothing but a miracle can save us, these are the snares which Satan lays for souls that have broken his coarser nets.
The three answers with which Jesus overcame are the mottoes by which we shall conquer.
Trust God, by whose will we live.
Worship God, in whose service we get all of this world that is good for us.
Tempt not God, whose angels keep us in our ways, when they are His ways, and who reckons trust that is not submission to His ways to be tempting God, and not trusting Him.
The enemy was foiled when he tried to tempt by addressing desires. His next assault will be at Gethsemane and Calvary, when dread and the shrinking from pain and death will be assailed as vainly.
[Excerpt from MacLaren's Expositions]