Matthew 4 – The Temptation of Jesus, Part 3

Matthew 4, from the Open Bible
Link to Temptation of Jesus, Part 1
Link to Temptation of Jesus, Part 2

  1. After this, the devil again took Him up onto an extremely high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glories of each one.

 

  1. And he said to Him “I will give You all these things, if You will fall to Your knees and worship me.”

 

  1. Then Jesus said to him “Get away from me, Satan, for it is written in the Scriptures “You must worship the Lord your God, and serve Him and Him alone.””

 

  1. Then the devil left Him, and angels came and looked after Him.

——————————————————————————————————————————
The third way that the devil tempted Jesus was by trying to entice Him with visions of grandeur. The devil led Jesus onto the tower of the temple and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. The devil promised Christ all these kingdoms AND THEIR GLORY, if Christ would only bow down to worship Him. Jesus again managed to deflect the devil and resist this temptation.
So another way we see in Scripture that the devil tempts is with desire for glory, or wealth.  However, many times, hidden behind glory, fame or wealth, could be  the devil himself.

There is something about our human hearts that craves glory and wealth and power.  It is so common among all of us that it can almost be taken for granted that deep down, it is to be found in most of us.

The Bible teaches that the devil is the prince of this world, or of this age – John 12.31.  As the devil is the prince of this world, in a way, he does have these things to bestow.

Even though our hearts yearn for these things, we have to make sure that God and only God is the focus of our worship.  As the devil can many times be hidden behind these things, in striving after them we will often face the temptation to glorify him the devil rather than God.  This can come so subtly, but ultimately, anything that does not glorify God, in God’s way, actually elevates the devil.  As we saw in examining the first Temptation that Jesus faced from the devil, the devil might not always entice us to do things that are evil outright, but simply things that take the focus off God, or things that mean God does not take His place of absolute pre-eminence in our lives.

Actually, I think the pursuit of fame, wealth and glory is often driven by this inner urge within us, and as such it corresponds to the worship of self, rather than of God. It is easy for the devil to successfully tempt us in this area as it builds on something that is already within us.  This is why as Christians I believe that we should be extremely careful regarding these things.  Ideally, we should cut out all desire for these things from our hearts.  Now the Bible does encourage us to strive after greatness. It holds up examples of great people like Jesus and Elijah as excellent examples for us to emulate.  However, this is all about worshipping God and serving God.  The Bible is all about God.  It does not recognise any greatness that is not utterly centred around God.  As Christians, often we can claim that our pursuits are God-centred.  For this to be true, we have to pursue God in God’s way, using the means He has set out for us in the Bible.  When we do God’s work with the devil’s tools, we are actually doing the devil’s work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *