Satan Trying Jesus' Faith in the WildernessVolume 3, Number 7
Created Date: September 5, 2008
Posted Date: September 5, 2008
The faith of Jesus: Satan's testing in the Wilderness - Part 4:
Recap to date: The Gospel writers Matthew and Luke both record three temptations of Jesus by the Devil in the wilderness. We have already examined two in Matthew along with the two similar ones in Luke. The first had to do with turning stones into bread, to which Jesus quoted the Scripture passage: "man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."& , as quoted from . Our last study examined the second temptation in Matthew's account where the Devil took Jesus to The Holy City, set Him on the pinnacle of the Temple and dared Him to jump to demonstrate that His angels would save Him from any injury. This is the third temptation mentioned in Luke's account where it differs slightly, indicating the Devil took Jesus to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, daring him to jump and demonstrate that His angels would save Him from any injury. In both Matthew and Luke Jesus is recorded as answering: "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." & , which is a quote from :
Today we examine the third temptation documented by Matthew: "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.". Luke records this incident basically the same except he lists it as the second in order and, quite notably, he states that the Devil claims the kingdoms of the world were his to give: "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine." .
Jesus' response in each respective account: "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.". As noted, Luke indicates this was the second temptation and he quotes Jesus as saying: "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." . (We note that whereas Luke records Jesus said "get thee behind me," Matthew wrote that He said "get thee hence," at which the Devil left him. We will discuss the reason for this variation in a subsequent study.)
We learn the motive or intention of Satan's temptation as much from Jesus' answer as we do from the words Satan uttered. Jesus is quoting from two different passages in the Old Testament: "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.". "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name." . The second person of the Trinity, that is The Word of God ( ) originally inspired Moses to write these words in Deuteronomy in the Hebrew language. Then, the Word of God incarnate, that is Jesus, quoted these words, which were recorded in the Greek language by Matthew and Luke. So it was that Jesus interpreted the Hebrew word translated "fear" as the Greek word translated "worship" when answering Satan. (We read these words as translated into the English language. The best way for us to understand the concept/ meaning of the Hebrew word translated "fear" and the Greek word translated "worship" is to study every occurrence in the Bible in which they are used but this is beyond the scope of this present study.)
At any rate, on its face this temptation might appear foolish in that it is difficult to even consider that Jesus would worship Satan. Such an idea seems preposterous. This is because we think of Jesus as God incarnate, which He was. However, He came as a man to do for mankind what we could not do for ourselves. Many people simply cannot believe that He was both God and Man at the same time. But He was indeed for He was the Son of God,, etc., and at the same time, the Son of Man, , etc.
Furthermore, Jesus didn't deny the kingdoms of the earth were Satan's to give because the fact is that Satan had gained control of them at the fall of Adam and is indeed the prince and the power of the air (.) Because of this, one of God's purposes when he came as Man, John 1:1, was to be Israel's Messiah and take Satan's control of the kingdoms from him ( .) As a man, Jesus lived a perfect life of faith in God's Word and thus made it possible for we who believe to be righteous before God: "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:" . We don't have even a chance of meeting God's requirement of perfect righteousness without Jesus "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" .
Therefore, it was necessary for Satan to tempt Jesus to worship him because, in one form or the other, all mankind has faced this since Adam and Eve. And no matter how good, how moral, or how religious anyone appears to be, they/we are still part of the world system, which is of the Devil. The Apostle John stated a truth that has been valid throughout the ages: "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.". And whereas every man and woman have been sinners and come short of the glory of God, Jesus did not do so. He maintained perfect, unwavering faith in God's Word, some of which was/is: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
The author of the book of Hebrews, while explaining to those believing Jews about their priesthood, made it clear what Jesus went through: "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.".
In 1865, Elvina M. Hall put it well in a song: "Jesus paid it all,(All to Him I owe;(Sin had left a crimson stain,(He washed it white as snow."
To be continued