The Enticement to a Shortcut

Matthew 4:8-10
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Standing on a very high mountain Satan tried to dazzle Jesus. In an amazing vision Satan flashed all the kingdoms of the world in front of the Lord. The Father promised that He would give every nation to Jesus as an inheritance (Psalm 2:8). It was His destiny to rule over all people and kingdoms. In this final temptation Satan appealed to Jesus’ pure and sinless ambition.

The temptation was this: God’s plan involved the suffering and agony of the cross. Jesus’ death on the cross would be the sacrifice that “purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9-10). God’s plan was the cross then the kingdoms. Satan’s plan was the kingdoms without the cross. A shortcut. Satan is all about shortcuts.

Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:10-13 to resist this temptation. In that passage Israel was tempted to leave God out of the picture, to think that their achievements were a result of their efforts. That’s a struggle we all have; but here we learn from our Lord that nothing is worthy apart from God’s plan. There is no worthwhile success or achievement apart from Him.

Father, drive that truth home in the heat of my battle with Satan. Shortcuts are so enticing. Help me see the dangerous destination before I start out on the hazardous path. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today on The Journey:
Finishing Well

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