The devil presents Jesus with the glories of the kingdoms of the world, because he had claimed the earth as his kingdom, since getting Adam and Eve to fall into sin. He now knows that Jesus has been anointed by the Holy Spirit to be Messiah, the King who has come to reclaim the earth as the new Adam and establish His Kingdom. So this temptation was designed to give Jesus a way to establish His Kingdom on earth without going to the cross! The trick is by worshipping Satan, He would be acknowledging his lordship and forfeiting the plan to save humanity. This again was a temptation for Jesus to act independently from trusting His Father’s plan. Yet Jesus shows us…
You can live victorious over temptation by not deviating from God’s plan for building the Kingdom
Many of us stumble into sin because we aren’t focused on the mission of Jesus’ Kingdom. We’re not involved. Or we want a cross-less mission. We don’t want to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ. We don’t want to sacrifice. Jesus was to establish His Kingdom by the sacrifice of Himself on the cross. However He calls us to build His kingdom by telling others about the cross and making disciples. But sometimes we get distracted from the mission.
What often gets me distracted from mission is the very things that God has given me as tools for mission…technology. I sometimes find myself aimlessly scrolling on Facebook when I should be focused on discipleship. Or sometimes instead of getting up in the morning and praying, I’ll turn off the alarm on my iPhone and then check my Facebook notifications. Sometimes all the devil needs is for us to take our eyes off Jesus and His mission to get us to stumble.
This wasn’t the only time Satan tried to get Jesus to abort the mission of the Kingdom, by bypassing the cross. Elizabeth Talbot says in her book Matthew Prophecy Fulfilled, “This was a temptation to bypass the cross… Israel had been tempted to find its own way and worship other gods. Then Jesus tells him, “Go, Satan! - in other words - get lost!… Jesus doesn’t hesitate to unmask Satan whenever he tempts Him to bypass the cross. He even calls His friend Peter, “Satan” when he tries to do the same (Matthew 16:22, 23).” P. 35. Nothing was going to get in the way of Christ’s mission of the cross.
Is there anything in your life that is keeping you from Christ or being actively involved in His mission of making disciples? If so, its an idol and we need to repent of it and refocus on Jesus. Its by staying focused on Jesus and by aggressively pursuing His mission that we stay out of trouble. You can fearlessly tell Satan to leave and he will flee.
Even though Jesus was weak and vulnerable from fasting, He was filled with the Holy Spirit and stood firmly on the word of God which was abiding in His heart. He gained the victory over the devil, who left Him for a time. Dr Talbot continues to comment on this by saying, “This is not the last time Jesus encountered “if You are” type of temptations. Even while hanging on the cross, He hears, “If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ “ (Matthew 27:40). By now, the reader is fully aware of the source of such temptations: it’s the enemy! And Jesus knows that.” P. 35