For All the Kingdoms and Splendor

“Again, the devil took [Jesus] 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

Until this morning, I always found it stupid how Satan tried to coax Jesus into worshiping him by “tempting” Him with earthly splendor. Jesus has everything and knows who He is; why would He fall for it? But at the time, Jesus was on earth as a man, and men (and women) are tempted by splendor and power.

That’s when the scary thought hit me: Jesus wasn’t tempted by splendor and power, but we are. If Satan coyly offered us the power and glory of earth in exchange for serving him, it would be tempting. We were made to worship. We crave worship. Only sometimes we choose to worship the wrong things, like money, popularity, power, or even the worship of ourselves.

But all that has an expiration date. We die. The people who might acclaim us die. Money loses value. Even our accomplishments will one day fade into obscurity. If we worship the wrong things, or the wrong Person, all the glory goes to waste. Our lives will go to waste.

In Revelation 22:14, Jesus makes very clear the consequences of misguided worship.

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”

But to God belongs eternal praise.

“All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

‘Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!'”
– Revelation 7:11-12

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