Saturday, December 29, 2012

You Shall Worship The Lord Your God Only, The Third Temptation - Matthew 4:8-11 Bible Commentary

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." 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.'"
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Matthew 4:8-11)
Jesus stands on a high mountain. There, in every direction, he can see all the works of man: the buildings, the palaces, the monuments—everything. All the kingdoms of the world and all their glory lie before Him.

No doubt, it was a passing and fading glory that lay before our Saviour. Yet still, it was an enticing glory— a glory that has enticed people of every age. For how many people, both kings and peasants, have made the glory of this world their pursuit? Its joys and its splendors— its riches and its crowns. Such things are a temptation to fallen people, for what person is there who has not at some time wished to say as Nebuchadnezzar did, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30).

The devil, speaking to Jesus, sets the enticements of this world before Him, saying, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” The First Adam fell to Satan’s lies. Satan left that scene victorious, but he wins no such victory on this occasion. The Second Adam cannot be enticed. Our Saviour, as on the previous two occasions, pulls out His sword of truth. His weapon is Scripture, quoting it, He proclaims, "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve."

The surest way to defend yourself from any temptation is with the sword of the Scriptures. Don’t settle for a dull weapon. Though you may be successful using some other method to combat temptation for a time, nothing compares to the potency and power of the sword of truth. Should we not imitate our Saviour in how he faced temptation?

Sometimes the Scriptures will not make the devil or temptation immediately depart. Notice that our Saviour used His sword three times before the tempter departed. Do not be discouraged, then, when temptation continues to attack. Continue wielding the sword of truth, and though the fight may be long—though it may last your entire life—you will emerge a victor.

Matthew says that after the third temptation the devil left. Luke adds farther that the "devil departed from him until an opportune time" (Luke 4:13). If the Saviour could not entirely escape temptation in this life when clothed with flesh, should we expect to? Yet notice that God knows just what to provide His servants when they need it. After Jesus' great trial, angels come to minister to Him. And with that, the real truth of Psalm 91— the very same text Satan had twisted earlier— was demonstrated. Just as the text says, "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways" (Psalm 91:11).

Coming down from the mountain, Jesus surely must have known that one day He would come down from a place much higher. On that day, He would reach out and claim everything to be rightfully His. Everything on that day would be made new, and the corrupted glory of the kingdoms of this world would pass away. But the time for that had not yet come. For He had come to do the will of His Father. The time of judgment had not yet come. Our Saviour had not come to judge, but to save.

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