“Fall Down and Do an Act of Worship to Me”
8. With the third temptation, how did Satan reveal the real issue?
8 Read Matthew 4:8-11. With the third temptation, Satan abandoned subtlety and revealed what he was after. Satan showed Jesus (likely in a vision) “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory”—but without their corruption. He then told Jesus: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.”b Worship—that was the real issue! Satan wanted Jesus to abandon his Father and acknowledge the Tempter as his god. Satan offered Jesus what might seem an easy way out. He implied that Jesus would have all the power and wealth of the nations and would not need to suffer—no crown of thorns, no scourging, and no torture stake. The temptation was real. Jesus did not question Satan’s dominion over worldly governments! (John 12:31; 1 John 5:19) Surely Satan would have given anything to turn Jesus away from the pure worship of his Father.
9. (a) What does Satan really want from true worshippers, and how does he try to tempt us? (b) What does our worship involve? (See the box “What Is Worship?”)
9 Today, too, Satan really wants us to give him our worship—either directly or indirectly. As “the god of this system of things,” he is the beneficiary of all the false worship offered up by the religions of Babylon the Great. (2 Cor. 4:4) But not content with billions of false worshippers, he wants to tempt true worshippers to go contrary to God’s will. He tries to lure us to seek wealth and power in his world rather than pursue a Christian course that may involve suffering “for the sake of righteousness.” (1 Pet. 3:14) If we were to give in to the temptation to abandon pure worship and become part of Satan’s world, we would, in effect, be bowing down and doing an act of worship to Satan, making him our god. How can we resist such a temptation?
10. How did Jesus respond to the third temptation, and why?
10 Note how Jesus responded to the third temptation. Showing his undivided loyalty to Jehovah, he immediately dismissed the Tempter, saying: “Go away, Satan!” As he did with the first two temptations, Jesus then quoted a scripture from Deuteronomy that contains the divine name: “It is written: ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’” (Matt. 4:10; Deut. 6:13) Jesus thus rejected the attraction of a prominent but short-lived worldly career and an easy life without suffering. He recognized that his Father alone deserves to be worshipped and that to perform even a single “act of worship” to Satan would signify submission to him. Jesus steadfastly refused to make the wicked Tempter his god. Having been rebuffed, “the Devil left him.”c
11. How can we resist Satan and his temptations?
11 We can resist Satan and the temptations of his wicked world because, like Jesus, we have a choice. Jehovah has given us the precious gift of free will. Hence, no one—not even the powerful, wicked spirit Tempter—can force us to abandon pure worship. When we loyally take our “stand against [Satan], firm in the faith,” we are, in effect, saying: “Go away, Satan!” (1 Pet. 5:9) Remember, Satan left after Jesus firmly rejected him. Likewise, the Bible assures us: “Oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you.”—Jas. 4:7.
The Enemy of Pure Worship
12. In Eden, how did Satan reveal that he is the enemy of pure worship?
12 With the final temptation, Satan confirmed that he is the original enemy of pure worship. Thousands of years earlier, in the garden of Eden, Satan first revealed his hatred for worship of Jehovah. By seducing Eve who, in turn, persuaded Adam to disobey Jehovah’s command, Satan brought them under his leadership and control. (Read Genesis 3:1-5; 2 Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9) In reality, he became their god, and they became his worshippers, even though they may not have known the real identity of the one misleading them.
b Regarding Satan’s words, one Bible reference work says: “As in the very first account of testing, failed by Adam and Eve . . . , the question centers on a choice between the will of Satan or the will of God, which involves implicitly the rendering of worship to the one or the other. Satan indeed vaunts himself as god in place of the only God.”