The view was spectacular. Rich rolling hills in a patchwork of colors stretched before him. There were rocky brown areas untended, roads winding across. He could see also the fertile green around the sea and the sea itself, azure and lovely. Fields of wheat waved as a breeze caressed the heads of grain. His hunger caused his eyes to dwell there for a moment before taking in the white flecks that were sheep grazing on green grasses. Then of course there were the cities thriving with people. People he loved, people who needed him.
“I see how you look with longing at all the world,” came the smooth confident voice of his persistent companion. “You do not have to long for it. You do not have to work for it. And certainly you do not have to suffer, not even for a single day.”
The young man took in a long and labored breath as he drank in the scene before him. He said nothing.
“I am here with you. I see how your eyes linger on the populace. I can feel the compassion you have for them. I can give them all to you. They will be yours to nurture and love forever, but best of all, they will love you forever, isn’t that what you want?” The persistent one was so convincing.
The young man pondered his words. It would be wonderful to skip the ordeal. He did not want to suffer. He wanted to be accepted. Yes, to be loved. Yes, forever. This mortal body was so weak and the persistent one spoke with such confidence. Maybe there was another way...He turned to face the voice.
“It’s easy. All you have to do is bow down and worship me.” The words came out in a quiet, excited hiss.
Jesus looked at Satan and recognized his trick. What he asked was too great a risk. The irony was that the instant Jesus would succomb to Satan’s wishes, Jesus would not gain the world, but lose it forever. Not only would he lose the world but everyone in it would be lost forever, everyone would belong to the King of lies. He would not let that happen. He loved them too much. He loved his father too much. He would rather go through any amount of suffering. And then he spoke.
“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.
And He did suffer, but in so doing He made a way for mankind to be saved.
Oh thank you Lord Jesus, that you did not risk my life, but sacrificed your own.
Bible verses: Matthew 4: 10,11; NIV
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