Day 15, Friday, March 9, 2012
In the third temptation of Jesus, we see devil’s heart’s desire displayed unmistakably—he wants to be God. Essentially, this is what made him what he is today. Please read Isaiah 14:12-15 and Revelation 12:9, as they describe Satan’s nature and origin. Lucifer, as he’s called in Isaiah 14:12 in several older translations, used to be in the presence of God. But he could not stomach that only God was worshiped in heaven. He was proud as illustrated in Isaiah 14: 12-15 where his “I will” statements appear five times in just two sentences. “I will” often stems from a heart full of boasting. Therefore, due to his pride the devil rebelled against God, and was thrown out of His presence to become the source of all evil.
In the first two temptations when Satan failed to trick Jesus into obedience to what he wanted Him to do, Satan showed his true colors, and wished that Jesus would bow down to him. He desperately wanted to be acknowledged and worshiped as God. For this purpose, Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth. The Roman Empire at Jesus’ time was the greatest in history. Its geographical reach and cultural splendor remained unparalleled for a long time until it fell and what we see today is only its ruins. Jesus must have been surely impressed by the glory and splendor of the kingdoms and nations of the world and what humanity has achieved through its God-given creativity. However, Jesus also knew the depravity of human beings and the temporal nature of all that our hands have produced. His eyes were fixed on the eternal Kingdom of God which he had come to proclaim both to the kings and to the commoner. He, therefore, didn’t want to do anything with the kingdoms of this earth. He knew, as he later stated, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). That’s why Jesus responded: “Go away Satan! The Scriptures say: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him’” (Matthew 4:10). And the devil left him. In the similar temptations of our lives today where so many things are vying for our attention, adoration and adulation, let us focus our eyes on the eternal Kingdom of God. And Satan will not be able to lead us astray. Amen.