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MATTHEW - Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand!
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Matthew
PART 1 - The Preliminary Period in the Ministry of Christ (Matthew 1:1 - 4:25)
B - John the Baptist Prepares the Way of Christ (Matthew 3:1 - 4:11)

4. The Temptation of Christ and His Great Victory (Matthew 4:1-11)

MATTHEW 4:8-11
8 Again, the devil took him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. 9 He said to him, “I will give you all of these things, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and served him.
(Deuteronomy 6:13; John 1:51; Hebrews 1:6, 14)

The devil did not appear in the two preceding temptations as an open opponent against God. He first appeared as if he were seeking a proof from Christ that he was the Son of God. He then appeared as if he desired him to prove the truth and power of God's word. But in the third temptation his motives are uncovered. He shows he is an enemy of God trying, if possible, to corrupt our Redeemer. In an astonishing manner that we do not understand, Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms and glories of the world in a moment of time (Luke 4:5) and offered to give them to him if he worshiped him. But Christ dismissed him immediately saying, "Away with you, Satan!" and he quoted a scripture that God only is to be worshiped. There is a complete contradiction between God and the world. Whoever wants to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy (James 4:4). The greatest temptation the devil can ever tempt man to is the world. It is known that we are apt to walk into this trap. When the devil failed to entice Christ in the two preceding temptations misusing the word of God, he increased the intensity of his seduction and offered him the world; but Christ would never accept it from him. No doubt, he is promised it by the Father (Psalm 2:7-9), and it will become his kingdom at the specified time (Revelation 11:15); for he, as the Son of Man and the last Adam, will inherit everything (Hebrews 2:5-9). He will justly possess it as a reward from God for his full obedience to the point of death, even the death of the cross. He would not expect to put on the crown of glory without first putting on the crown of thorns.

We pray at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, "Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory." With this glorification we surrender ourselves to God. The devil is quite the opposite of this. He is the proud spirit who sought worship from all the creatures for himself. He lied when he brought the whole kingdom of the world before Christ and offered them to him as a gift, because he had no right to offer that which he only claimed to possession. The world, inclusive of its powers and glory, is the possession of God and his Christ.

Christ did not believe the lies of the devil. He abided in his Father, joining himself unto him. Neither power nor glory attracted him since he had made himself and his divine image of no reputation. He became despised that he might redeem all mankind. He chose the way of poverty and scorn, rejecting wealth and fame, so that he would stay in communion with his Father and fulfill the purposes of God.

A millionaire once said: "Every man has a price, to do what contradicts his conscience." But Christ did not sell his righteousness for deceptive money. He denied himself, took up his cross, and continued in his Father’s contentment and obedience.

With this obedient attitude the devil was overcome and Christ's goal was accomplished, showing that Satan is a liar, a thief and a killer. He wants to be worshiped by all men. He makes a god out of himself and tempts mankind to love anything other than God. Books, cars, properties and possessions are all temptations that can be lifted up as idols above our Creator. Satan proceeds to discourage mankind from committing themselves to God and to his Son so that evil might reign in his world of rebellion toward God. The devil is the original rebel who invites the children of disobedience to hell in droves.

The final temptation of Jesus was ended with Satan asking Jesus to worship him. Instead Jesus showed his lordship over Satan and ordered him to go away from him at once.

In spite of that, Jesus did give the devil one last chance; "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only you shall serve." He did not destroy him at once but he ordered him to repent, to fall on his knees before God, and to worship him, that he might turn from his corrupt mind and commit himself to the Almighty and serve him continuously with humility and obedience. The Son of Man did not seek worship for himself from Satan but he opened for Satan the gate to God that he might come to his senses with repentance and obedience. The heavens and hell caught their breath, because the wrestling between God and his first enemy had reached its climax. So what would the wicked one do?

He silently left Jesus and went away but he did not worship the Most High. The devil hated Jesus who did not give himself for the sake of bread, pretense and power, but preferred contentment, contempt and going to the cross to give himself for mankind. The Spirit of Christ overcame the spirit of Satan.

The tempter tried, in vain, to make Jesus use his right and power as the Son of God, to turn the stones into bread and satisfy his hunger as a Son of Man. He tried, in vain, to get him to tempt God so that he might ascertain if God were with him or not. Because Jesus trusted God fully, a test was not necessary. Satan offered him, in vain, the kingdom and the glory of the world. Because Jesus, blessed be his name, knew that it would all be given to him at the specified time when he reigns as the Son of Man, he did not yield to Satan but committed himself to do all that was determined for him until that time comes.

An importance point in this dialog is the sufficiency and the power of the word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ, who was born and anointed of the Spirit and was manifest in flesh, wrestled with the devil using the most practical weapon available—the word of God written to man. One statement from the Scripture was enough to shut up the enemy and put an end to his arrogance. Likewise, the power of God's word is available to us in times of spiritual warfare. We must use the appropriate Scripture in the right situation with a pure heart and not for personal gain, having full trust in God's power behind it.

After that victory, the angels came to Jesus, ministered to him and worshiped him. If Jesus had fallen into the temptation, the last chance for our reconciliation to God would have disappeared and the judgment would have come. But he stood firm and faithfully moved ahead and conquered.

PRAYER: O Holy Son of God, I worship you and your Father with gladness and rejoicing, because you are triumphant over Satan. Please overcome me too that I may always worship the Most Holy in my heart, minister to him in my days, commit myself to him willingly and follow you in your ministry. Please help me to prefer to be little and despised than to desire wealth or the power that perish, that I may build my future on the basis of your cross and the only name of your Holy Father.


  1. Why did Jesus order Satan to worship God only?


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