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.’ ” 11Then the devil left him, and behold, “angels came and were ministering to Him.” (Matthew 4:8–11 (ESV)
“Satan tests God’s people by manipulating circumstances, within the limits that God allows him (cf. Jb. 1:12; 2:6; 1 Cor. 10:13), in an attempt to make them desert God’s will. The NT knows him as ‘the tempter’ (ho peirazōn, Matt. 4:3; 1 Thes. 3:5), the implacable foe of both God and men (1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12),” explains J.I. Packer.
The focus today is on the temptation of the lust of the eyes. It is the evil of coveting what we see and honoring it above, or equal to, the Lord. It is not only wanting what we see and fixate upon, but also to have resentment for the one who possesses what we see and want and cannot have righteously and in the will of God.
The devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. What a sight that must have been. There were no limitations to what the devil offered Jesus. However, there was only one stipulation. Jesus would have to bow down and worship the devil.
“Satan’s final test related to God’s plan for Jesus. It was and is God’s design that Jesus Christ rule the world. Satan showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world with all their splendor. These kingdoms presently are Satan’s, as he is “the god of this Age” (2 Cor. 4:4) and “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; cf. Eph. 2:2). He had the power to give all these kingdoms to Jesus at that time—if only Jesus would bow down and worship him. Satan was saying, “I can accomplish the will of God for You and You can have the kingdoms of this world right now.” This of course would have meant Jesus would never have gone to the cross. He supposedly could have been the King of kings without the cross,” explains commentator Louis A. Barbieri Jr.
Jesus would not do this. He knew the path to kingship included the cross. He also knew that the only one worthy of worship was the One True God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Again, Jesus quoted Scripture, from Deuteronomy 6:13, to resist the devil. He said, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ” The devil immediately obeyed Jesus’ command and left Him. It was at that moment that angels came and ministered to Jesus.
“Interestingly Satan’s temptations of Eve in the Garden of Eden correspond to those of Jesus in the desert. Satan appealed to the physical appetite (Gen. 3:1–3; Matt. 4:3), the desire for personal gain (Gen. 3:4–5; Matt. 4:6), and an easy path to power or glory (Gen. 3:5–6; Matt. 4:8–9). And in each case Satan altered God’s Word (Gen. 3:4; Matt. 4:6). Satan’s temptations of people today often fall into the same three categories (cf. 1 John 2:16). The One who had identified Himself with sinners by baptism and who would provide righteousness proved He is righteous, and revealed His approval by the Father. Satan then left Jesus. At that moment God sent angels to minister to His needs,” Barbieri concludes.
In which of the three areas of temptation do you find the most difficult to resist? Perhaps like many believers in Christ, you may struggle against all three. Pray that the Lord will bring to your mind Scripture by which you can resist the devil and his temptations (James 4:7).
Have a God honoring day today.
Soli deo Gloria!