In the third temptation recorded in Matthew 4, Satan brought Jesus to the top of an “exceedingly high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.” Then Satan tempted Jesus with a trade. Simply bow down in worship to Satan, and Jesus would get everything He could see without having to work for any of it.
This might seem like an easy temptation to overcome.
It’s probably easy to dismiss such a promise from Satan on the surface of it. First of all, I would question whether he could actually do it. Of course, Jesus Himself called Satan the “ruler of this world” in John 12:31. I would also question whether he would actually do what he promised if Jesus had worshipped him. To whom could Jesus appeal if Satan tricked Him into doing such a thing? But this line of thinking is troublesome. It is impossible to consider what would be the result if Jesus Himself sinned!
Even outside of the debate over whether it was possible, we should all praise God that it did not happen.
Satan Offered A Shortcut From Work
But what made Satan think he even had a shot at such a request? Perhaps because he knew Jesus was the Messiah. In fact, the demons all knew Him and confessed their knowledge when they faced Jesus. Satan knew what kind of Man he faced and probably relished the idea of doing something that had never been done in the history of eternity: Tempt God. And even more, he offered Jesus the opportunity to skip YEARS worth of work and pain. It would come easy for Him if only He would bow down.
Can’t you just see it? Jesus came to rule over the earth as the Messiah and Satan made an offer he thought Jesus couldn’t refuse.
Aren’t shortcuts tempting for us? We get short-sighted and think that we cannot accomplish what we need (or want) to accomplish, then we are tempted to take the shortcut. Jesus had more integrity than that. Faith is not afraid of patiently working. We might not know how it will all work out when we try to perform a task or some accomplishment, but we know that when we do it God’s way, it WILL work out. We may not be tempted to worship Satan, but we might be tempted to perform some “small” sin that we think will get us what we need or want. When we start thinking that way, we are already in a lot of trouble!
Let’s serve God and trust His way. When we do, we will find ourselves in good standing with Him. Don’t chase after sin while thinking it will do you any good!