The Last Temptation
“All this I will give you, “ he (Satan) 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.’ Then the devil left him.” — Matthew 3:9-10
In the third and last temptation, Satan offers something for nothing. He basically says “I’ll stop all my deception, I’ll stop all the work I do to destroy your kingdom, I will just give it all away if you will just take a knee Jesus.” Jesus says “There is no way that is happening!”
As a math teacher, I get to teach all kinds of different students…smart ones, the opposite of smart ones, and every kind in between. That is all well and good, I honestly do not care which kind they are. However, I like to classify them in a different way: Either they try…or they don’t try. In my 16 and a half years of teaching, I have seen the number of students that try decrease, and the number of students that don’t try increase. In fact, they are increasing at a rapid rate. As if that isn’t bad enough, here is what is really bad: They want a good grade…they just don’t want to earn it. I know Mitt Romney got in trouble for his “47%” comment. I honestly wish he would have embraced what he said and stood by it. Mainly because the next generation isn’t much better. If something doesn’t change, we are raising a generation where half are willing to work and contribute, and half don’t want to work, but want to be given the same luxuries as those who do.
In the last temptation of Jesus, Satan tried to convince Jesus that He could save the world without working for it. Better yet, he tried to say that Jesus could have it without denying Himself, without taking up the cross, and without following His Heavenly Father. How appealing does that sound to 47% of this country? You can have Salvation and all of its benefits! You can keep following the world and its ways! You don’t have to change anything about your life…no disciplined Bible reading, no self-denial, no praying, no WORK…You really CAN have it BOTH WAYS!
Have you fallen for it? I did. I had a season of life where I thought I could live any way I wanted and God still have my back. It didn’t work out so well. In fact, there was a single day when all of my sinful ways came crashing down on me. I am so thankful for forgiveness! I am so thankful, not for just second chances, but hundred and second chances. When I realized that I had fallen for the devil’s temptation, I could only put myself at the mercy of the cross. Once again, Jesus forgave me, but this time it was different. This time, I actually appreciated it. This time, I realized I was like the woman in Luke 7:47…I was forgiven much! When that happened, I began to love and appreciate Jesus as opposed to keep on trying to perform well for Him…I was a terrible performer anyway.
Thank God Jesus didn’t fall for any of these temptations. If He had, He would not have been our spotless lamb. The sacrifice made for our sins would have been insufficient. Keep in mind…HE DID ALL THE WORK! He did the hard part…He kept all the rules perfectly because He knew absolutely NOBODY else ever could or would. When you accept Him into your heart, you receive His perfection. You receive His righteousness. The only thing you can do for Him is live a life of thankfulness. Read His Word, understand His Word, live His Word…it is FOR YOU!!! As you drink in His Word, your love for Him will increase. You will WANT to live for Him! You will find out that living for Jesus is simply a better way to live! Not to mention, it benefits others, because they will want what you have. Hopefully, you know how to help them receive Him.
There has never been, and never will be, anyone like our Lord Jesus Christ! There is no one with more grace, with more forgiveness, with more compassion, or with more mercy. If He is not your Lord…please make Him your Lord today!
Lord, Jesus…I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I stand before you guilty and condemned. I believe you died on the cross for my sins. I believe that you took the punishment that I deserve. I believe that by your stripes I am healed. Come into my heart. Make me brand new. Help me learn to love you and live for you until I draw my last breath on this Earth. Thank You!