“Then the devil took [Jesus] up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. ‘I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,’ the devil said, ‘because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.’ Jesus replied, ‘The Scripture say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him’”
(Luke 4:5-8, NLT).
In this second temptation, Satan showed Jesus all that the world had to offer, in terms of power and possessions. Satan was offering Jesus “authority” in exchange for worship. Jesus didn’t argue with Satan about who owned the world. In fact, later he stated that Satan is, in fact, the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31). Satan was tempting Jesus to take the world as an earthly kingdom right then, without carrying out God’s plan of salvation. For Jesus, that would mean obtaining his promised dominion over earth without experiencing the Cross. Satan offered Jesus a painless shortcut. In addition, in order to worship Satan, Jesus would have had to denounce his loyalty to the Father; Satan’s goal always has been to replace God as the object of worship.
It’s really a matter of perspective. Anyone who looks down from a mountain, airplane, or skyscraper can be overwhelmed by the sights below – and to have it all! Imagine ruling an earthly empire. So much for so little – or so it seems… looking down. But Jesus looked up. That is, Jesus didn’t allow the earthly perspective to entice him to make a terrible decision. For Jesus to take a shortcut to ruling the world by worshipping Satan would be to break the first commandment in Exodus 20:3: “You must not have any other god but me.” Jesus resisted this temptation, rejecting Satan’s offer.
Think about this: This temptation is the “lust of the eyes” or “a craving for everything we see” (1 John 2:16). Satan was saying, “You can have it all, and you can have it now. It’s easy – just switch your allegiance to me.” Sound familiar? When tempted to compromise your values for money or power (your faith for ‘love’ or status privileges), remember who really controls the universe. God. Look up, focus on Christ and his Kingdom, and find true riches. Say, “I must worship Jesus Christ the Lord my God and serve him only.”
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
Life Application Study Bible Devotional: Daily Wisdom from the Life of Jesus (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2011)