The Temptations of Power
“And the devil, taking him [Jesus] up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:5-8)
Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus “…was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 2:18 also says, “For in that he [Jesus] himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [help] them that are tempted.” That’s a great promise of the Lord’s help when we face temptation!
The Bible doesn’t record every time Jesus was tempted, but it records this one. God allowed this story to be in the Bible to help people who would be tempted by power. If you are a person who either holds or seeks a political office or any place of power, this story will be especially helpful for you.
Jesus called the devil “…a liar, and the father of it [the lie].” (John 8:44) When Satan told Jesus in our passage that he controlled all the world’s governments (“kingdoms”), he lied. He can do nothing without God’s permission. In Job 1:11, Satan told God, “But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he [Job] hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” Satan could only touch Job’s life and tempt him if God allowed.
The devil also didn’t have the power to give Jesus control over any kingdom. Only God “…removeth kings, and setteth up kings:” (Daniel 2:21) Nor does he have that power today. Yet he does have power to tempt. He tried to convince Jesus to do what it takes; namely, to worship him, to obtain the world’s kingdoms. That means the devil can also tempt people in power, or people who are seeking power, to do what it takes, no matter how treacherous or sinful, to obtain or keep a place of power they want.
Wise men came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2) King Herod saw the child Jesus as a threat to his power. He wanted the wise men to tell him where Jesus was after they saw Him, but God warned them not to go back to Herod, and they didn’t. Afterward, Herod was angry and “…slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under,” (Matthew 2:16)
The Bible doesn’t say Herod worshiped the devil, but the devil tempted Herod to do wickedly, and he did. You may not be tempted to worship the devil or murder little kids, but you will be tempted to use power wickedly. People may point out “benefits” if you do certain things or consequences if you don’t.
Yet God put you there, and He can give you the grace you need to resist the temptations of power. Spend time often in God’s Word. Pray for grace to honor the Lord with the power He has allowed you to have. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for thee:” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Claim that promise as your own.
If you are a citizen, pray for leaders “…and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:2) Pray also for their families and loved ones. Leaders don’t just have political battles. They also have spiritual battles in a political arena.
Finally, if you would like to see from the Bible how to have forgiveness of all your sins and an eternal home in heaven by receiving Jesus Christ, God the Son, as your personal Saviour, please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”
Brian Miller 1/4/2023
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822