Choose to Serve

KEY VERSE: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the LORD thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” —Luke 4:8


WHEN JESUS WAS baptized the Holy Spirit came upon him and the ‘heavens’ were opened unto him. This suggests the revealing to the Master’s mind of the great spiritual truths concerning himself that had been set forth in the Old Testament. It is reasonable to conclude that it was the sudden filling of his mind with these truths which moved him to seek a secluded spot where he could meditate on them and grasp their full import, particularly as they applied to his own ministry which was just beginning.

Apparently Jesus became so engrossed in his meditations that he had not eaten for forty days and was very hungry. It was then Satan suggested that he use his newly endowed power to turn stones into bread for satisfying his hunger. But one thing Jesus had learned through meditation was that he was to lay down his life in sacrifice. So he knew that it would be wrong to use the special power in this way, and that he should use it to heal the sick and raise the dead, thus extending blessings to others. But for himself, his ministry was to be one of sacrifice which eventually would lead to death. So he replied to Satan, “It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”—Luke 4:4

At the time Jesus was baptized he received assurance from his Father that he was indeed the Son of God. He heard his voice saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) Indeed, Jesus realized that to do what Satan suggested simply to prove he was the Son of God to himself, or even to the people, would be presumptuous. So he replied to Satan, “It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Luke 4:12) We notice that in each temptation Jesus relied upon God’s Word to point out to him the proper course.

The third and last of this series of temptations is a very significant one. Satan took Jesus, in his mind, “to an high mountain” (Luke 4:5) and gave him a view of all the kingdoms of the world. He offered the Master: “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”—vss. 6,7

This was a subtle temptation. Jesus knew that he had come to be the king of earth and that the time would come when all the kingdoms of the world would be subject to him. (Ps. 2:6-9; Rev. 11:15) But he also knew that before this aspect of the divine plan would be carried out it was necessary for him to suffer and to die as the world’s Redeemer. This suggestion by Satan to Jesus was a temptation to accomplish the divine purpose of rulership without the necessity of suffering and dying. But Jesus did not propose to accept rulership over the kingdoms of this world on Satan’s terms, so he replied, “Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”—Luke 4:8

However, many of Jesus’ professed followers have yielded to these temptations, which Satan has likewise presented to them. Many have yielded to the temptation to use their spiritual advantages to further their own selfish ends. Others have endeavored, through spectacular works, to convince their fellows that they are the favorites of heaven. And still others, and a larger number, have yielded to the temptation to receive from the Devil the kingdoms of this world. One example of this has been the rulership of Christians in the church-state systems of government.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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