Christ Our Pattern (continued)
The Infinite Stoop (continued)
satan used every wile and weapon at his disposal to kill Jesus from His babyhood on (Matthew 2:13, 26:4; Luke 22:2).
satan would have gotten rid of Jesus by death, but not by the death of the Cross. God's way to the throne was by the way of the Cross. So satan did everything within his power to get Jesus to act independently and go another way than the way of God. The very intent of the last temptation was to persuade Jesus to go his way versus the Father's way (Matthew 4:8).
The Son of the Father was also the Father's heir (Hebrews 1:2). All the kingdoms of this world were one day to be His kingdom and He is to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords over them (Revelation 11:15; 19:16). But the pathway to the throne was that of the Overcomer; He must win the throne by way of the Cross.
"If thou wilt." Step out of God's will; step aide from God's way into the independence of decision and action on your own. "All these kingdoms" which are now under my control and "all the glory of them" will I give unto Thee if Thou wilt do but one thing - "fall down and worship me." So spake the archtriator and the archapostate: the archdeceiver in the final wilderness temptation to win the victory over God's second Man.
Jesus reply is short and sharp. He used the two-edged Sword with matchless skill and perfect success (Matthew 4:10).
"For it is written" versus "If thou wilt." Jesus lived not according to any thoughts, desires, or volitions of His own, but solely by the Word of God, which declared plainly the will of God and the way of God.
"Him only shalt thou serve." Get the full force of that word "only." Being His Father's bondslave, Jesus had no will and no way of His own to the Kingship and the Lordship promised Him. satan was "prince of this world" but he was not king over the kingdoms of this world and never would be. As a usurper he might declare that he would "exalt his throne above the stars of God" (Isaiah 14:13), and assume the right to rule over the world. But his "throne" was not the throne of God. That the Father had already given to His Son and Heir by promise and prophecy (Psalm 2:1-9.)
Hebrews 1:8: of the Son he saith, 'Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of thy kingdom".
But the throne was to be His by way of the Cross. So satan's temptation was nothing less than a most subtle attempt to coerce Jesus to by-pass the Cross. Never were His words "the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me" more true. "I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do" (John 14:31). God's way for His Son to have the nations for His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession was by way of the Cross, and by that way only would He go.
satan had been foiled in the wilderness battle and repulsed in the Gethsemane conflict, but his cruelest temptation was when the obedient One actually hung upon the Cross. There we hear the serpent's final hiss: there attempts to inject his poisonous venomous fangs into the bleeding, suffering Saviour; there where the Saviour's love is seen at its best, the serpent's hate is seen at its worst (Matthew 27:40.)
"If thou art the Son of God." Very well indeed did satan know that the One hanging upon the Cross was "God manifested in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16). The prophecy-promise of that double bruising had been spoken directly to the serpent (Genesis 3:14, 15) by the Lord Himself.
(continued with # 72)