Matthew 4:8-11

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

showed Him (v.8) — It’s not clear if this showing was a vision or a literal, supernatural showing.

Here was the temptation to become King of kings without a cross and without a struggle. That Satan could offer them temporarily seems to be supported by his role as the god of this world, but Satan had no right to offer them as a kingdom forever. To accept would have made Jesus his slave, not his victor. Again, Jesus quoted Scripture, this time Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20. Significantly, all three scriptural quotations come from Deuteronomy, the object of great attack by the higher critics. This time, Jesus not only quoted Scripture but commanded Satan to go. This supports the conclusion that in the historical order of events this was the last of the three temptations. — Walvoord, page 36

Notice here particularly the claim the devil set up, and let it not be forgotten that the claim was made in the presence of Jesus. He claimed some right to the kingdoms of the world, and the claim was based upon certain unquestionable facts. These kingdoms had become what they were, largely under his control. They were at the moment submissive to his sway, obedient to his laws, being led captive by him at his will. For the larger part, the whole of them were blindly asleep in the arms of the wicket one. By the very temptation, Satan seems to lay claim to a title, which Jesus Himself gave him incidentally at a later period, “the prince of this world.” The fact of his sway is undisputed. He was then as he is today, exercising authority over all those who are in darkness, and he is perpetually paying his price to those who serve him. 

This was a subtle imitation f what God the Father promised to the Son as declared in Psalm 2. God’s will was to bring the Son to a throne but by way of the cross. The devil implied that Jesus might have what the Father promised without going to the cross. Only one condition was attached: “If you will bow down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). To receive worship has been Satan’s chief ambition ever since, being motivated by pride, he attempted to dethrone God, usurp god’s authority, and receive the worship, the honor, and the glory that belongs to God Himself (Isaiah 14:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

In the first two temptations, Jesus Christ recognized God’s absolute authority and had submitted to Him. This seems to have led Satan to a final attempt to realize his age-long ambition — to usurp the prerogatives of God and to claim worship that belongs to God. He invited Christ to worship him. Satan’s desire to receive this worship was so great that he was willing to surrender the entire realm over which he ruled as a usurper in order to gain that end. — Pentecost, pages 104-105.

During these three temptations, Christ was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15).

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