RESISTING TEMPTATION (THREE)

Compromise

 

Again the devil took Him to a very lofty mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory, and said to Him, “I will give you all these things, if you will fall down and worship me”.  Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan!  For it stands written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone you will serve.”  Then the devil left Him alone, and behold, angels came and gave Him their service.  Matthew 8-11

While studying the three temptations of Christ by Satan in the wilderness, I found this interpretation by William Barclay in his commentary The Gospel of Matthew.  This is what he has to say on the final offer from Satan.

“So the tempter tried his third avenue of attack. It was the world that Jesus came to save, and into his mind there came the picture of the world.  The tempting voice said, ‘Fall down and worship me, and I will give you all the kingdoms of this world.’  Had not God Himself said to His chosen one, ‘Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession’? (Psalm 2:8)

What the tempter was saying was, ‘Compromise!  Come to terms with me!  Don’t pitch your demands quite so high!  Wink just a little at evil and questionable things—and then people will follow you in their hordes.’  This was the temptation to come to terms with the world, instead of uncompromisingly presenting God’s demands to the world.  It was the temptation to try to advance by retreating, to try to change the world by becoming like the world.  Back came Jesus’ answer:  ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone you will serve.’  (Deuteronomy 6:13)  Jesus was quite certain that we can never defeat evil by compromising with evil.  He laid down the uncompromisingness of the Christian faith.  Christianity cannot stoop to the level of the world; it must lift the world to its own level.  Nothing less will do.

So Jesus made His decision.  He decided that He must never bribe men into following Him (the first temptation); He decided that the way of sensation was not for Him (the second temptation); He decided that there could be no compromise in the message He preached and in the faith He demanded.  That choice inevitably meant the Cross—but the Cross just as inevitably meant the final victory.”

At some time Jesus must have related this very private and personal experience to the disciples and through God’s Word it has been told to us.  Jesus is showing us what to expect from Satan and how to have victory over him.  Everything that Satan offered Jesus already belonged to Jesus and was under His power.  If we place our faith in Jesus, He will give us the power to overcome if we ask it of Him. He is letting us know that he has already won the battle over Satan.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand under it.  1 Corinthians 10:13

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.  John 16:33