Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stolen Property

For the third temptation, Satan gets bold & entreats Jesus to bow down & worship him in exchange for all the kingdoms of the world. I think this one really pissed Him off. I can imagine Him saying "Away from Me Satan!" with a roiling, thunderous shout. He tells the devil to "Worship the Lord your God & serve Him only", so Satan takes off & some angels attend to Jesus.

What on earth made the devil think Jesus would bow down to him? We may never know. It seems ridiculous to even consider. But if Jesus is setting an example for us in besting these temptations, what might we learn from this one?

In the first temptation, He could have taken control of the situation & set up a smorgasbord in the desert. But His bread (drawing from another scripture here) was to do the will of the Father. That meant denying Himself & taking up the proverbial cross of hunger & thirst. Can we deny ourselves & take up a cross of hunger & thirst for the things of God?

In the second temptation, He could have thrown Himself down from the highest point of the temple. Hundreds of people would have seen God's angels save Him from certain death. Imagine how effective His ministry would be from the get go! He'd be a celebrity! But Jesus wasn't about to test God on matters of death or fame. Life is a gift to be revered & all glory is God's. Jesus wasn't going to take that for granted.

And now, He's offered all the kingdoms of the world for the simple act of bowing down to the devil. Its been speculated that Satan offered Him what wasn't even his to give. Perhaps he had stolen these kingdoms from those who did bow. In the same way, the world promises us life, success, abundance... but these things aren't the world's to give. If we bow to the world, we lower our shoulders to be saddled with a heavy yoke to bear. Only Jesus can give us abundant life & success in our endeavors. His burden is easy & His yoke is light. Even if Satan did own all the kingdoms of the world, none of that could even begin to compare to what awaits in heaven... Jesus knew this. Do we?

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