Luke 4:[1] And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness [2] for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. [3] The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” [4] And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” [5] And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, [6] and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. [7] If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” [8] And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’”

[9] And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, [10] for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,’

[11] and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

[12] And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” [13] And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Satan offers Jesus all the authority and glory of all the nations. Wow. Jesus must have been really impressed. Satan is quite a conundrum in the Scriptures. He certainly knows who Jesus is. The first and third temptations of Jesus in this text begins with Satan saying , “if you are the Son of God…” He knows that getting Jesus to sin will be a major coup for him. But near the end of Jesus ministry, when Satan is influencing Judas and Jesus’ enemies, he does not seem to understand that he is accomplishing the very plan of God in orchestrating Jesus’ crucifixion. Satan doesn’t know everything and Christians need to remember at least that much about him.

This temptation is stunningly stupid. He tries to impress Jesus with the glory of the kingdoms of the world. Does he not know who he is dealing with? The temptation was real and Jesus was tempted to accept the offer. But look closely at the text. The real temptation is to rule under Satan’s supreme rule – “If you then will worship me, it will all be yours.” (Verse 7). The enticement is what Satan will give Jesus. The real temptation is to allow Satan to rule over Him. Satan says “You can rule over everything else if I can rule over you”.

This is idolatry. And idolatry is the essence of all sin. This may be an indication of what got Satan thrown out of heaven in the first place. He wanted to be in charge. He still does. And that sin is the one that marks all of us.  We know that disagreements would be solved if only those we are arguing with would see our point of view.  We know we are right, smarter, better. People know that if they were in charge everything would be running better. People even do this with God. That is where complaints against God come from – the knowledge that He just isn’t doing it right and the fact that they know how to do things better. They know that if they were God they would end suffering and pain. Everyone would be rich. The world would just be a better place – idolatry.

This does not disappear when a person becomes a believer in Jesus Christ. We want Jesus to save people but we want Him to use US. We want our churches to be “significant”. (Oh how I wish pastors and denominational leaders would stop talking about “significant churches”, “significant ministries” and “significant leaders”). We talk about “my good friend” and then mention some famous Christian preacher or singer. We brag about MY church, MY ministry and MY acceptance of Christ (which is supremely not the question – the question is, does He accept us?) We want the church to recognize MY GIFTS – well they are gifts, not earns, and the only reason anyone should want them displayed is so that people will not see him/her but HIM.

We are here for His glory. The good we do is to reflect Him and direct attention to Him. Humility is foreign to us and we need the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to truly have it.

We are tempted to think we know better, can do things better, are better people, should be in charge, that people should listen to us, that they would learn so much if only they would just shut up. Pray to see where you have it. Work hard at getting it out and rejoice that God can use you.

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