“I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them…I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”
The second temptation that Jesus faced (at least according to Luke) was for the Devil to offer Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, “and authority over them.” What a deal! The only caveat is that Jesus must worship Lucifer. Was this really a temptation? Was there ever any chance of Jesus even considering worshipping Satan? Again, if we only think of Jesus as divine, it is easy to dismiss this with a knowing, “Jesus would never be tempted to do that!”
I believe that temptation is not really temptation if we are not in some way attracted to it. If it has no power over us at all, if it doesn’t make us turn our head at least once, then we really aren’t being tempted. The very fact that Satan makes this offer to Jesus seems to indicate that there was something to it that made it appealing.
The main enticement here is not as obvious as it would seem. Having all the kingdoms of the world and authority over them is not the real temptation. That is just the by-product. The real temptation is that by worshipping Satan, Jesus would be able to avoid the suffering and shame of the cross. Crucifixion was one of the most horrific deaths that anyone could die. If Jesus knew that that was what awaited Him, then it is a bit easier to understand how this offer could be tempting.
Jesus overcame because He knew where His true allegiance lay. “You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.” In His victory over this temptation, Jesus secured an even greater eternal victory. Paul said that because of His obedience, “God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” In the end, it will be the Devil who will bow before Jesus.
What is the most powerful temptation that you face? How do you overcome it?
If you would like to partner with Annie and I as we work towards getting back to Brazil, here is the link. Obrigado! (Thank you!)