Jesus and the Ultimate Temptation
In our previous posting we presented how Jesus was tested prior to entering His ministry. We looked at how the devil attempted to trick Jesus to denying His purpose in this world and to forfeit His identity as the Son of God. We then provided a high level summary that communicated how the devil had previously been successful in deceiving Adam into forfeiting his purpose (of having dominion over the earth) and his identity (as the son of God). We concluded that with the serious consequences associated with our choices that we must be on guard for similar trickery by the devil who wants us to also give up our identity (sons and daughters of the living God) and our purpose in life.
In today’s posting we will continue to look at the testing of Jesus that occurred just prior to His entering into ministry. In that regard we are picking up where we left off, with more trickery by the devil. He was now going to attempt to bribe Jesus with everything he had; all the kingdoms of the world in a moment in time. Here is the scripture for your review:
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’“ (Luke 4:5-8KJV)
For Jesus to defeat the devil He had to remain free from sin and therefore, free from all lust for the things of the world. After all, Adam’s desire for the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil exposed man’s desire to know evil since everything good was already available in the Garden of Eden. This desire to know evil was the opening needed for the demonic attack which was capitalized upon by the devil. But Jesus had no desire for the things of this world. He was victorious over the temptation and His victory defeated all the evil in our world. He took dominion of the earth back from the devil. His victory is that He never once disobeyed the Father and He continuously challenged the evil of this world with the truth that only comes from the Father.
It is interesting to note that in the above scripture that the devil admits that the entire world had been delivered to him. This is a direct substantiation of his victory over Adam. Man had made his choice for evil in the Garden and as a result became mortal, having to live under the domination of the devil. He therefore would know and do evil. As a result, man’s destiny was that he would die in sin and suffer the bondage of the devil in hell. It is from this fate that Jesus came to save us. His victory in spiritual warfare is to save us from the devils grip. Prior to Jesus every person who died went to hell and suffered the torment of Satan. The fact that Jesus descended into Hell is communicated in the following verse:
Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”; what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:8-10)
Jesus came to earth to set the captives free by being the price of our salvation. By setting the captives free we mean that all the righteous people who had died prior to Jesus were previously held in Hell by the devil. Jesus descended into Hell and was victorious over Satan and set these people free. That meant that David, Daniel, Samuel, Isaiah and all the profits of the Bible who lived prior to Jesus died and went to hell and were only released after the victory of Jesus on the cross.
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:50-53)
Jesus rebuked the devil after he had offered Him the entire world and everything in it. If the devil had been successful then Jesus would have forfeited his God given identity, Him mission on earth, and the world of mankind would have been lost. This is exactly what the devil wants from you. To rob you of your God given identity, your mission on this earth and the impact God wants you to have on the world.
In our next posting we will discuss how to prepare for spiritual warfare and the testing of the devil.