Summary: To overcome the lust of the eyes keep your eyes fixed on God and His kingdom!
SIN OR GOD III?
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
Ever since creation Satan has been tempting humanity to sin against God. When going through the wilderness experiences of aloneness, physical or emotional pain, prepare oneself to be tempted by the Devil. The greater the pain the more likely the Devil will show up and tempt the person to pick the path that leads to self-satisfaction. The first week we learned that Jesus overcame the lust of the flesh by refusing to turn the stones into bread but instead to live by every word that comes from God. Last week we learned that Jesus overcame the pride of life by refusing to cast Himself down from the temple but instead to trust in God in all matters. This week we are going to examine how Jesus overcame the final temptation: the lust of the eyes.
JESUS’ VICTORIES OVER THE LUST OF THE EYES
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.’” Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him.
Matthew 4:8-11, NIV
In verse eight we are told that the location of the last temptation is a “very high mountain.” Where this mountain is located is unknown and a subject of great debate. Scholars have suggested the mountain could have either been the one in which Jesus gave His famous Sermon on the Mount of Matthew 5, the one in which He gave His final words to his disciples (28:16) or the mountain of either the vision of Levi or Enoch. Other scholars have argued it was Mount Pisgah (Deuteronomy 3:27; 34:1–4), the one in which Moses viewed the promised land. While it is possible that Satan was tempting Jesus to give into the Jewish expectation that He would establish Israel as a worldwide empire to reign supreme with perfect justice, the lack of parallels between these two events makes this highly unlikely. After all, the Devil showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world whereas Moses was only shown the future land of Israel. Also, the Devil in this passage offers the land to Jesus but for Moses he was shown the land but was told he would never enter it. Most likely the mountaintop temptation was a visionary experience.
Whether Jesus was physically on that mountain or not, the temptation was real. The rise in altitude from the desert, to the pinnacle of the temple, to the mountaintop; indicates to the reader that this is the climax of Jesus’ wilderness temptation. On the mountain Satan offers Jesus all the kingdoms of this world and their splendor. This is a twofold temptation. First, was the temptation to receive riches. Nothing makes humans fall under Satan’s influence any faster than longing for more and loving covetousness. To be offered the splendor of king and queens, their wealth, pleasure and gaiety, would truly be a temptation to the human side of Christ who had no home (Matthew 8:20) and was starving to death! Since Psalms 2:7-8 states the entire world was Christ’s inheritance, the Devil asks what would be the harm in taking what was rightly His in the first place? Also, why suffer asks the Devil, when the pleasures of this world can easily satisfy Your physical desires?
Second, this was a temptation to serve Satan rather than God. Jesus is faced with an age-old temptation to act in accordance with the worldly belief that the end justifies the means. The god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4) and prince of this world (John 12:31), Satan, offered Jesus possession of the earth that was rightful His inheritance without having to obey God and die on the cross! To one who knew that one day soon He would sweat drops of blood before His crucifixion (Luke 22:44), this was a real, inward, spiritual temptation to take an easier path! In other words, Satan was saying I will not be like Your unkind Father and leave You starving in this wilderness nor will I request You to go through the agony of the cross. Instead I will offer You Your inheritance now and all that You must do is bow down and worship me. This was Satan’s ultimate goal for the first two temptations as well: to get Jesus to reject God’s will and in doing so Jesus would have served Satan in his kingdom.
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, and angels came and attended Him.