The Temptations of Christ – Part 3.
In Part 1, we discussed Jesus being led by the Spirit of God to be tempted. We discussed that Jesus prepared for 40 days and 40 nights fasting so that when the tempter came, he would be ready. We exposed the tempter’s short sightedness for not seeing how well Jesus was prepared and the things the tempter attacked.
In Part 2, we further exposed the desperation of the tempter and absolute authority Jesus had over the situation because of his preparation.
This last part will be very similar. We see the tempter make some very bold assumptions and expose his most grandiose temptation and ultimate goal even though Jesus had not even come close to falling for his scheme.
Let’s read the last temptation in Matthew 4:8 - 11
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
So the first thing we see the devil do is proclaim that everything he is showing to Jesus is his to give. Then upon this assumption he gives Jesus a conditional deal. If Jesus worships him, then he will give “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory”.
The tempter once again attacks the authority and the flesh of Jesus. The tempter assumed that Jesus’s drive for power was the same as his. The tempter also set himself up as being the only one that could offer to Jesus something of unachievable value! This one is important as we will discuss.
Jesus’s response is EPIC. He does a few things. He establishes His authority, names His accuser and sets the record straight. His commandment is to “be gone”… then calls him “Satan”. Satan is a defaming name that means “false accuser, slanderer”. So not only does Jesus command him, but also, in his naming, infers that what he offers is false. Then Jesus establishes Satan’s falseness by reciting one of the commandments dealing with worship to the only God. This is Jesus not just rebutting but rebuking. Satan’s response is to leave.
As we are brought before temptations, we must remember this sequence. Jesus always defers to Scripture and always commands authority BASED on what the Lord has granted to us all. When Satan tries to draw out that Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus does not lean on His divinity, as He very easily and rightly could have done. He refers to Scripture and the Lord our God.
Let's also recognize that the tempter cannot offer us ANYTHING of value that perceivably belongs to him. Jesus has offered to us the one thing that is unacheivable on our own. He offers it to us as a gift. He offered Himself in sacrifice for our sin debt. As we repent and believe in the sufficient payment of His death on the cross, we receive that gift in full. The tempter has NOTHING to offer but counterfeits. He will prey on presuppositions that are FALSE.
So, again, let’s be prepared. Let’s learn more about fasting and the POWER it will leads us to, so that when temptations arise, WE ARE READY!