Part three of the Temptation of Jesus. We’ll finish up the passage with Matthew 4:8-11.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
The devil saved the worst temptation for last. This is a reminder to us that no matter what we’ve been through, we have to prepare for the worst. Now here’s a question for the readers: Was this mountain a real mountain, or was it an illusion?
The devil offers all the great things of the world to Jesus for a seemingly small price: all he’s got to do is bow down and worship Satan. This is vain deception on the devil’s part. He’s looking at Jesus as a mere man, and he makes easy prey of men, whom he can persuade were abandoned by God. But here’s something to think about: if it was an illusion or a vision that Jesus was seeing, what really was Satan offering him?
In verse ten, Jesus warded off the threat and conquered Satan. The former temptations could have been considered, but this one was so gross that it was rejected immediately. Some temptations are obviously wicked, and Jesus wanted nothing to do with it. It didn’t matter who Jesus was at this point ~ he wouldn’t worship the devil because that is an honor due to God alone, and Christ quotes this law of worship in application to himself. As God, he was worshipped, but as man, he worshipped God, both publicly and privately.
The devil was baffled by Jesus and forced to leave by the statement “Away from me, Satan!” He saw that Jesus could not be tempted by the things that tempt men. This is a great reminder that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. He is a conquered enemy.
Angels came and attended to Jesus, but whether they were visible or not I have no idea. One angel could have brought him food, but there were many. I can almost see them, crowding around Jesus, congratulating him on his victory. “Way to go, Jesus!” “You sure showed him!” “He’ll think twice before trying to tempt YOU again!”
There are a few common things about sin and temptation. First, they often come in the eye. The first sin, in Genesis 3:6, began in the eye when Eve saw that the fruit was good to look at and good to eat. This is why we must pray that God turns our eyes from sin. Second, temptations rise from the world and the things in it, in pride and lust of flesh and the eye. Third, the devil cheats us, deceives us by showing men the glory of the world and hiding the sin and corruption. And fourth, remember that the glory of the world, the pride of life, is the most charming temptation of all.