Why would this be a temptation for Jesus?
Matthew 4:8 - 11
ESV - 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.
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The devil had nothing to offer the Lord! Psalms 50:10 "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills." v. 11 "I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine." v. 12 "If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof." Let's look at what had happened prior. At the close of Matthew 3 the Lord had just been baptized by John. Matthew 4:1 "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." 1. The testing was initiated by God. We see that the Holy Spirit led him there for the specific purpose of tempting or testing. 4:2 "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred." 2. He had purposefully fasted 40 days and nights, most certainly at the limit of physical endurance and near starvation. I believe the purpose of these temptations or tests was for the authentication, validation and proof of Christ's divine nature and his humanity, that he truly is the "God-man". In John 6:38 he said: "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." Why all the suffering? Hebrews 2:17 "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." v.18 "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted."
Authentication is a great description of the reasons our Lord had to endure a face-to-face with our enemy, immediately after the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. I believe another reason was for an example to us. To teach US how to handle the enemy with the sword of the spirit. Blessed be His name.
On one level, I can see that it would seem to make no sense for Satan to offer Jesus something that, as God Incarnate, was already His. However, one interpretation of this temptation that I have seen is that Satan was basically offering Jesus the opportunity to "take the easy way out" by gaining the world while avoiding the excruciating suffering and death that Jesus knew His redeeming mission would (and had to) entail ("the crown without the cross", as I have seen this temptation expressed). Since Jesus was truly human as well as truly God, it seems to me that this was a powerful and real temptation to Jesus' human side (just as the temptation to turn stones into bread was, since He had not eaten for forty days). However, Jesus (as He did with the other two temptations) resisted it by quoting Scripture showing that what Satan was tempting Him to do was directly opposed to God's previously-given commandments, which were (and are) similarly available to all humans in rejecting or resisting Satan's temptations in their own lives.
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