#850. Jesus is tempted by false worship (6/7/23)
Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily devotional. This week, we continue in our series, Luke - Exploring who Jesus is and this week we are considering Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness.
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‘‘The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ (Luke 4:5-8)
Main idea: We must resist the temptation to give false worship for a fake victory.
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What’s this temptation about? In essence, this is about offering false worship for a fake victory. Jesus is tempted with glory but without the cross. Obedience to the Father’s will would lead to victory and worship but through His substitutionary death on the cross (See Luke 1:32-33). However, Satan is tempting Jesus with victory and worship but without suffering and obedience to the Father.
‘In essence, what the devil is offering to Jesus is a crown without a cross.’ (Luke for you, Mike McKinley)
This temptation is rather like that of Edmund in C. S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Edmund, along with his siblings, is promised victory and a throne in Narnia. The prophecy reads:
"When Adam's flesh and Adam's bone
Sits at Cair Paravel in throne,
The evil time will be over and done."
However, he is seduced and chooses a counterfeit rule offered by the White Witch.
Satan was offering the same as he offered to Adam and Eve - the lie that worshipping him would lead to true life. However, as with The Fall, this supposed victory would require rebellion to God and this always leads to death. Satan is tempting Jesus because he knows that if he can get Jesus, like Adam and Eve, to obey him, he will have won.
After the Fall, God promises an ongoing war between Satan and mankind:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel (Gen. 3:15)
Here, in the wilderness, Satan is ‘striking’ Jesus, as he offers him a victory by avoiding the cross. However, Jesus knows that He can only provide forgiveness for sins, restore worship to God, and crush Satan’s head for good, through His suffering.
Faithful worshippers enjoy God and crush Satan’s head. Like Jesus, we will be tempted to give worth to things over our worship of God. Satan tempts us to ‘bow down’ to our work, family, the government, popularity, comfort, sport… Let’s learn from Jesus’ response as He used the Word as a weapon and quoted from Deuteronomy 6:13 and Exodus 20:3
‘Be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.’ (Deuteronomy 6:12-15)
‘You shall have no other gods before me.’ (Exodus 20:3)
If, like Christ, we will use the Word as a weapon to keep God central in our hearts, we overcome Satanic schemes and crush his head.