When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he made this outlandish seeming offer: “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.’” (Matthew 4:9, NKJV).
This sounds so ridiculous! How could it ever be considered a temptation? Believe it or not, this was a powerful, enticing offer. Satan was challenging Jesus, saying, “I promise that if you’ll merely bow down at my feet in a single act of worship, I’ll quit the fight. I’ll give up all my power over these realms. I won’t possess or enslave anyone else. I know that you love humankind enough to be accursed by God for their sake. Why wait? You can sacrifice yourself right now and free the world from this moment on.”
Why was the devil willing to give up all his power for this? It would seem that he was trying to save his own skin. Satan surely knew or guessed that his eternal destiny would be sealed at Calvary. If he could just keep Jesus from going to the cross, he might spare himself that fate.
You may be wondering, “How could this possibly relate to me?” Well, beloved, Satan still tempts the righteous with a similar offer.
Satan comes to us with threats and accusations. He tells us, “You don’t have to worship me because I already have access to your flesh. I know all your weaknesses. Go ahead and testify about your freedom in Christ. At the moment you’re singing your loudest praises, I’ll overpower your mind with evil. I’ll bring up your sin to you so powerfully that you’ll despair of ever being free. You are powerless.”
How do we answer Satan’s accusations? “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8). It doesn’t matter how many temptations Satan throws at you. You needn’t fear any sin from your past. If Christ’s blood has covered it, then the devil can’t do anything to separate you from the Father.