The Book of Luke, The Second Temptation of Jesus, Part I – Lesson 38
Luke 4:5-8, And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 8And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Jesus Christ tells Satan to get behind him.
Jesus Christ has no intention to get behind Satan by worshipping him.
There is an order to things and Satan always desires to change the order in his favor.
That is Satan’s work, to change God’s order!
The names of Satan in the scripture reveal to us Satan’s work.
Each name he has indicates his character or a method of how he operates.
As Satan, he opposes, as the Devil, he slanders and accuses and as the tempter he seeks to lure men to commit sin.
He cannot attack God directly so he attacks man, God’s highest creation.
The scripture mentions his methods which include lying, tempting, robbing, harassing, hindering, sifting, imitating, accusing, smiting with disease, possessing, killing and devouring.
Satan’s object is given to us in Isaiah 14:14, which says: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
The emphasis is “I will” instead of “thy will”.
If you find yourself promoting your will instead of God’s will then you are promoting Satan’s program.
The Word of God tells us that Satan has power, he has a throne, and great authority, and as the dragon he gives all these to the beast of Revelation during the time of the tribulation.
Rev. 13:2, And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
In order to achieve his purpose, to make himself like the most high, he sought to kill the child Jesus and when that effort failed he tried to induce him to worship him.
We find him here in Luke 4 using his tempting powers as he attempts to get Jesus Christ to bow down and worship him.
The first temptation by Satan of Jesus Christ was in the area of food and hunger, it concerned the needs of the flesh.
Were the needs of the flesh to outweigh obedience to the Father’s word?
Satan sought to tempt Jesus Christ to satisfy the needs of his flesh by commanding a stone to become bread.
This would have been no difficulty for Jesus Christ, and it would have solved His problem of hunger.
But the Lord Jesus Christ was true to God’s word and obeyed the will of God rather than being concerned about his body.
He told Satan that Man shall not live by bread alone, but by the word of God.
This tells us to concern ourselves with God and God will provide the bread.
This second temptation that we read today is in the area of power and control.
If the first temptation had to do with physical “needs” which constantly occupy men, the second had to do with another great need of men, that is to exercise power and control over others.
All the prestige and the power of “all the kingdoms of the world” were offered the man Christ Jesus by Satan if He would but bow the knee in worship to Satan.
Satan is telling Jesus Christ that there is another way for him to be king over all the earth than by the way of the cross.
This is an alternate way, an easier way than the way planned by the Father.
This is the broad way, not the narrow way that God prescribes.
Satan is clever about offering alternate ways to man.
He is full of alternate ways, broad ways but all of his ways lead to death.
I have a house that is off grade, in other words the floor is elevated above the ground and not a concrete slab.
Whenever I have to run a telephone line or repair plumbing I have two choices.
I can run the line in the room or I can run the line under the floor.
I can work in an air-conditioned space or I can crawl on the dirt beneath my floor in the darkness, though cobwebs, and spiders and whatever dwells there.
I can go the Broadway or I can go the narrow way.
I always go the narrow way even though it is the hardess way because it is the right way.
I don’t want exposed wiring or exposed plumbing in my house.
The narrow way is the right way.
Jesus Christ chose the narrow way and rejected Satan’s offer even though the narrow way included the cross.
Jesus Christ opts in favor of God‘s word which commands us:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Since the worship of Satan would require serving him, our Lord would have become his servant had He surrended to this temptation.
And so do we when we walk the broad way.
It is easy to see in this passage that Satan is desperate for he knows his time is short.
What is it that he is trying to avoid, or to accomplish in this temptation?
We must have at least a basic understanding of Satan and his power in order to understand this second temptation of Jesus Christ.
Satan has power but his power is limited because he is a created being and any power that he has, has been given him by God.
He is not omniscient which means all-knowing nor is he omnipresent which means he is not everywhere at one time.
But at this point in the scripture he knows God’s word of the Old Testament.
He does not know the word of God to come, for he is not omniscient.
But Satan has gathered his agents around him.
He and one third of the angels rebelled against God and those fallen angels gather intelligence which gives them the power to promote Satan’s purpose which is always to oppose God.
He opposes God by encouraging fallen men to engage in wickedness and rebellion against God.
He uses God’s creation against the creator.
So what is it that Satan knows when he addresses Jesus Christ in the wilderness?
What is it that brings him to offer to share the kingdoms of this world with this man Jesus Christ?
Satan knew from the beginning of history that a man would come to destroy him for the Lord told this to his face in the garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:15, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Satan was, through the centuries, on guard for this man and his forces were always on the lookout for this man to come.
The genealogy of Luke shows the link between Jesus Christ and Adam, both of whom were “sons of God” (Luke 3:22, 38).
In the process of time he came to know the time table of Daniel and when this man would appear.
Satan had rightly concluded that Jesus had come to destroy him and he e-mailed all of his demons that this was the case.
This communication of Satan to his forces is revealed to us in:
Luke 4:34 where we can hear the words of an unclean devil: What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.
Satan had long ago informed all of his agents who this Jesus was and that his purpose was to destroy the devil and his forces.
By corrupting Adam and Eve, Satan was about the business of taking control over the earth from man because he, instead of man wished to rule over the earth and the people of the earth.
He speaks to Jesus as if, he is the earth’s rightful owner, as if God himself had given him this rule and dominion.
But Satan knew the truth of scripture that related to the true king and ruler of this earth as given in Genesis 49:10 and Psalms 45:6-7:
Genesis 49:10, The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Psalms 45:6-7, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
In addition he knew Isaiah and Daniel:
Isa. 9:6-7, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Dan. 2:44, And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Dan. 7:13-14, I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
And certainly the announcements of the angel that Luke recorded did not go unnoticed by Satan or his agents.
Don’t you suppose he knew when Gabriel visited the earth with this important news?
The prophecies which preceded our Lord’s birth identified Him as the King of Israel, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the coming King:
Luke 1:32-33, He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
In Mary’s Magnificat, this was again shown:
Luke 1:49-52, For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
When the wise men arrived from the east, they asked,
Matt. 2:2, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
The scribes answered this question by quoting the prophecy of Micah:
Micah 5:2, But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
All of this shows us that Satan knew that Jesus was the “seed of the woman,” the “Son of God,” the King of Israel, the Messiah who had come to destroy him and to establish an everlasting righteous kingdom.
Satan’s motivation was to stop this man at all costs!
He had failed though the power of Herod in his attempt to kill the baby Jesus.
And if the baby Jesus could not be killed by Satan, perhaps an agreement could be negotiated, an alliance could be established, and the “kingdom of Satan” could be shared.
But Satan’s words can never be taken at face value for he is a liar and the father of lies.
He says in this passage All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. Luke 4:6-7
Is this true? What does Satan possess? What can Satan give to another?
Jesus Christ calls Satan the prince (ruler) of this world in:
John 12:31-32, Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
The apostle Paul calls him the “god of this world”:
2 Cor. 4:3-4, But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
But being the god of this world does not mean all that Satan claims in his words to Jesus Christ in this second temptation.
The right to rule the earth was given to man, not Satan.
Adam and Eve were commissioned to rule God’s creation
Gen. 1:26, And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
According to the psalmist, God still intends for man to rule over the earth.
Ps. 8:4-8, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
The Lord Jesus, as the “Son of Man” ultimately fulfills this task, because Adam failed, but it is the task given to man, and not to Satan.
We know by scripture that God is the ultimate ruler of the earth
Ps. 22:28, For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.
Isa. 37:16, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.
Daniel tells us in: Dan. 2:20-21a, Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings:
There will be a time in the Great Tribulation where Satan will be given authority to rule, but this power is granted, within limits, and for a specified period of time:
Rev. 13:7-8, 12, 15, And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. ….And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. ……. 15And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
From these scriptures we see that Satan has authority that has been given him and that authority is limited.
He is the “prince or ruler of this world” because he has fallen men to work through.
Because of sin he dominates fallen men through the power of sin and death, and through the world system that he has set up and the total depravity of the flesh and by his direct intervention.
Because of sin he is the god of this world.
He is not totally in control over kings and kingdoms, although he greatly influences them because kings are sinners.
God, through Jesus Christ, is the One who is in sovereign control of history, and of the nations, and thus the prophecies of the word of God are sure.
God cannot predict the future if He does not control it.
So Satan’s claim is only partially true which conforms to his nature.
Throughout the Bible Satan is continually offering others, things which are not his own.
To Eve he promised that she would be as gods.
He offered Adam and Eve the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but it was not his to give.
He has offered multitudes great power and riches but the ultimate conclusion has been great bitterness.
His method of deception has succeeded with the multitudes and Satan felt that this man Jesus would certainly accept this great and magnificent offer.
But Jesus was single minded in his purpose to do the will of the Father and the Father’s word was the answer to any of Satan’s devices.