Satan cursed again and spat, “I’m convinced you are God’s chosen one.” So he took Jesus to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. “You may have the hearts of Israel but all the rest are yours only if you bow down and worship me.”
Jesus realised he could obtain the world back from Satan’s control without having to suffer and die. “I’ll bow down but I’ll not sing songs.” Jesus replied. Satan smiled, “Deal.”
Not the Bible: The Ungospel of Matthew 4:8-11
The opposite of Jesus’ actual response to Satan’s final temptation is quite shocking but it’s actually the logical ultimate outcome of giving in to temptation:
You gain the world but lose your soul (Mt 16:26)
You get what you want but you lose everything that matters.
Jesus was given the opportunity to reclaim the kingdoms of the world for His Father but without the cross.
In this ungospel translation where I have Jesus behaving like a worldly leader then of course he would take the easy way and in the last chapters we’ll see the shocking logical outcome of that choice.
But we know that’s so unlike Jesus – He didn’t take the easy way out – He had the greatest love for His father and was obedient (Jn 10:17; 14:31). He had the greatest love for us and laid down His life (Jn 15:13). He looks to give and not to get – that is the essence of love and God is love (1 Jn 4:8).
Whereas Satan is the anti-Christ: He is the opposite of Christ. He promotes getting what we want, being boss of our lives, having our needs/lusts met, being served, being first. It might start innocently enough, and nearly always with good intentions and maybe even to meet legitimate needs or to follow a right calling but ultimately it’s a wide road that leads to destruction.
And there is the choice before all of us: Christ or anti Christ. It has been the same choice since the two trees in the garden and ultimately there are two paths to walk that in the end lead to two different destinations (Mt 7:13-14). Let us daily choose the narrow path that leads to life.
Father, forgive me that I think I know what’s best for my life. Forgive me that I want the shortcut to success. Thank you that your way, the way of sacrifice develops the character that I need to handle increased responsibility you desire for me. Help me to trust you in all that I do and become more like Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen (Phil 2:6-11)