Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 4:9
“And he said to Him, “All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me.” – Matthew 4:9
Over these three days we will be looking at, in Matthew, the temptation of Jesus. There were three specifically mentioned in Matthew 4, which we will address. God sent Him out to be tempted. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1. These three testings’ were not for God to see what happens, for God knows all things. Isaiah said the following regarding this idea. “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9-10. God also is showing the contrast between Adam and Eve and the Christ. Jesus proved Himself by not giving into Satan’s temptation as Adam and Eve did, which was not to God but to the world. Also showing that temptation itself is not a sin, but our response may be.
With the last temptation, the devil takes Jesus to a high mountain. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is taken to Mount Nebo to look upon the land that He has promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, and all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, and the Negev and the plain in the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” Deuteronomy 34:1-4. However, unlike this situation with Moses, the issue is not that Jesus is permitted to see the kingdoms of the world; instead, Satan offers Him world dominion if He will worship him. “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 things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:8-9.
This was quite a temptation, for what Satan offered was rule over all the earth but without the sacrifice on the cross. Without the pain, humiliation and all the suffering that was associated with crucifixion. In essence, Satan’s temptation was for Jesus to receive what the Father promised without the physical cost of death, which meant no paying the penalty for the sins of the people. However, Jesus would have nothing to do with it. “Then Jesus said to him, begone, Satan! For it is written, YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.” Matthew 4:10. And as the others, we find this in the Book of Deuteronomy. “You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.” Deuteronomy 6:13.
Satan tempted Jesus to believe that someone else could provide for Him in a better way than God could. And we need to be cautious with our eyes open, for this is the way he appeals to us. Whether it is power, money, success, or the ability to pursue personal interests. Jesus again reached into the scriptures to answer Satan, and as always interpreting it accurately. We can see a personal lesson, that being the Bible is our only authority for right and righteous living. Old Testament Israel bought the lie that God had competition. However, Jesus did not. He wanted to be mastered by nothing and no one except the true God. And this should be our mindset as well.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.