Matt. 4:8 ¶ Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;
Matt. 4:9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”
Our first instinct is to think the devil doesn’t have the authority to offer this to Jesus. However, there are some verses that indicate he does.
John 14:30 “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;
John 16:11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
There’s a reference to the ruler of this world. Jesus was acknowledging that there was someone out there who was the ruler of the world, and that would have been Satan, the devil. We see something similar in 2 Corinthians
2Cor. 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Here we see a reference to the god of this world. Again, that was a reference to the devil, or Satan. There is a scriptural basis to say that Satan, the devil, had the authority to offer to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world.
Essentially, the devil was trying to get Jesus to become the ruler of the world, without going through the crucifixion and the resurrection. In other words, the devil was offering Jesus a shortcut. That would have been easier for Jesus. But if Jesus had done that, He would not have provided a way of salvation for all of us.
Matt. 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”
Matt. 4:11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
Jesus told the devil to go. Jesus called the Devil, Satan. The word Satan means adversary. Then Jesus quoted scripture, and the verse He quoted was, “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve him only”. Jesus pointed out to the devil that the scripture forbid Him from worshipping Satan. Then we see that the devil left Jesus, and that ended the temptations.
I have two thoughts here. First, we should be very thankful that Jesus did not give in to the devil. The devil is the ruler of the world. The devil has the authority to give it to Jesus if he wants to. The devil offered to give it to Jesus, but as I said, if Jesus had taken him up on the offer, Jesus would not have gone through the crucifixion or the resurrection, which means we would not have a way of salvation. So we should be very thankful Jesus decided to take the hard road and go through the crucifixion and the resurrection.
Also, let’s think about who we worship.
Rom. 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
There’s a statement here about people worshipping the creature, rather than the Creator. In previous centuries and previous millennia, people would create idols, and they would worship and serve those idols. They would follow a code of conduct that was created by man, that they thought was their way of serving those idols.
In the 21st century we worship ourselves. We come up with all sorts of creative arguments to make the Bible say what we want it to say. As a society, everything we do in life is focused on ourselves. We entertain ourselves and make ourselves comfortable. We’re not willing to suffer for Christ. Social media is all about glorifying ourselves and saying, “Look what I did. Look where I am. Look at me. Pay attention to me”. Ultimately, social media is a reflection of the fact that we worship ourselves.
If we want Christianity and the church to be relevant again in our society in the 21st century, we have to stop focusing on ourselves. We have to start focusing on Jesus. We have to take his Word seriously, obey Him, and serve Him.
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“Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,
1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission.” (www.Lockman.org)