Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
Now we come to the third and last of Satan’s three temptations toward Jesus. With each victory of Jesus over temptation, Satan uses the way He addressed victory against Him. Jesus used Scripture in the first temptation, so Satan used the Word against Him. Jesus used the Father’s plan as an answer to the second temptation, so Satan used temptation against the Father’s plan against Him in the third temptation. There is a sequence of momentum in Satan’s temptation.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
The third temptation was the temptation of power lust. This temptation centered on Jesus’ mission as the Messiah. The devil conducted Jesus to “a very high mountain” to show Him the panorama of “kingdoms of the world and their glory.” “Glory” is a power-lust term. What a range of vision! This is a temptation of exceeding grandeur.
And he said to him, “All these I will give you,
The “kingdoms of the world” are presently Satan’s because he is the “god of this world” (2 Co 4:4) and “the prince of this world” (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Satan had the power to give the world system to Jesus. If Jesus would have accepted Satan’s proposal of a quick path to the kingdom, He would have thwarted God’s plan for Him to go to the cross.
We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 1 Jn 5:19
The phrase “all these” is emphatic, with the idea that the devil can give Jesus vast power because he controls these kingdoms. Satan is the ultimate usurper. It was the Father’s plan that Jesus become ruler of the world, King Jesus the Sovereign of the World. Satan attempted to usurp that kingdom. Jesus had to go via the cross to receive that kingdom. Satan’s plan is always to circumvent the cross.
if you will fall down and worship me.”
Satan claims right of worship. This is the temptation to compromise. The word “if” in the Greek is contrary to the fact (second-class condition). The idea is “if, but you won’t.” Satan assumed that Jesus would not fall down and worship him exclusively, but he hoped to get to a compromise of worshiping both him and the Lord God. The idea is “compromise, come to terms with me. Don’t be so exclusive in your belief in God.”
Evil can never overcome evil.
Satan loves comprise. His temptation is to compromise as a means of reaching a goal. The end justifies the means. Satan intimates that we can reach our goals if we would only compromise a little. “Please come to terms with my plan. You can achieve both God’s plan and my plan simultaneously.”
People believe that if it is religious, it is good. That is a deadly error. Satan’s ace trump in leading people astray is religion.