Matthew 4: 8-11. “Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth Him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto Him. “
What a dramatic story this is! How presumptuous Satan was! Don’t just read the surface of this event. There is some depth here that we need to understand.
Satan now takes Jesus to a high mountain. There, these two stand together: Satan, the father of all liars, the evil enemy of God who sought to overthrow Him and become the mightiest being of heaven; the one whose sole purpose is to destroy all that God loves, including His Son. Next to him, the King of Kings; the Creator; the Lamb of God, the Savior.
Remember, Jesus had been alone in the wilderness, fasting, for 40 days and nights. I’m sure he didn’t look particularly kingly at that moment. Satan must have looked upon Him and thought, “He’s weak; He’s weary and lonely. Surely I can defeat Him this time.” We must never forget how powerful Satan is, and that he finds our weakest spot and puts the dagger right there.
Now, he rolls out before Jesus’ view all the wealth, glory, and power of the worldly kingdoms. Think of the Egyptian pyramids; of the temples built to the glory of man and of man’s pantheon of gods; think of the treasures of gold and precious stones and silver stored up in man’s feeble attempt to feel safe and powerful.
Then think of Satan’s next words to Jesus: “I will give You all of this if You will fall down and worship me!”
Now think of Psalm 50:10, which tells us that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills! In verse 12, He tells us that the world is His, and all the fullness of it. He created it. He owns it. It belongs to Him.
How presumptuous is Satan, to think he can tempt the Creator of the universe by offering Him what He already owns; by daring to say I will give it all to You! And then he states the condition for bestowing this gracious gift on Jesus: You must fall down and worship me!
Can you imagine such a thing? Can you see the Savior, obedient to the will of the Father, falling to His knees to worship Satan in order to receive that which already belongs to Him?
Have you ever wondered what Jesus saw, through His eyes of love and compassion, when He looked on the kingdoms of the world? Did He see the wealth, or did He see the need of all mankind, princes and paupers, lost in their sin? Did He see the pitiful being that Satan was, offering Him this last-ditch effort to forsake His calling?
Did Satan actually have any power over the earth? In Ephesians 2:2 we are told that Satan is the prince of the power of the air. I want to emphasize again that Satan is a powerful force, wily and full of deceit, but able to appear as attractive to eyes clouded with self and sin. In his own thinking, he may have lost sight of the fact that he was speaking to the Creator of all things. In any case, he really went all out this time to defeat Jesus and keep Him from the cross.
Let me point you to one more scripture. Revelation 11:15 says, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and forever.” As the music from the Messiah plays in my head, I’m imagining Satan’s rage when this prophecy is fulfilled and his doom is fixed!
Jesus may have turned to look at Satan, the full power of Who He is burning in His eyes as He says, “Go away from Me, Satan. For it is written, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Deut. 6:13).
And with those words, spoken by the King of Kings, Satan leaves Jesus there on the mountain top. Was he cursing, screaming invectives against Jesus? Could be; I don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter, does it? He was defeated yet again, and I look forward to the day when his defeat is complete and permanent and he can no longer torture mankind with his lies. I hope I get to stomp on his ugly, scaly head!
Now, a beautiful picture of God’s love and care for His Son: Angels came and ministered to Him. Did they bring Him cool, refreshing, pure water? Food? A bath, clean clothes, balm for His sunburned skin? Did they sing His praise as they ministered to His soul and body? That they loved Him, adored Him, is beyond question; how privileged they must have felt to be tasked with ministering to the Savior.