“Next the devil took Him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. ‘I will give it all to You,’ he said, ‘if you will kneel down and worship me.’” (Matthew 4:8-9 NLT)
We often read Scripture so quickly we miss important words. Have you ever wondered what Satan meant when he showed Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory?” “Glory” is the Greek word “doxa,” which means “honor, praise, dignity, worship.” Think of the “doxa” we render to wealthy people and politicians who use their resources and position to further evil.
“doxa” is a word that should be reserved exclusively for Jesus, who is God, but what Satan was asking Jesus to do is essentially the same thing he asks you and me to do today – to direct glory, honor, praise, and worship to that which was created rather than to the Creator. We’re so mesmerized by the glitter and glamor of this world we miss the Treasure who really owns it all and made it all possible.
On some levels it’s not unlike the toddler at Christmas or on their birthday when they find the box more appealing and entertaining than the gift that was in it. When I was selling insurance years ago one of my supervisors made a comment in passing that really stuck with me. He said, “I never leave the house without at least ten grand in my pocket.” That sounded really impressive to me in that season of my life but reminds me how easily we’re attracted to almost anything we don’t have.
Sometimes our faith is so shallow we’re easily tempted to believe being able to carry 10 thousand dollars around is more prestigious or appealing than having a relationship with the Creator of this world. How often we give our praise and respect to people who live extravagant lifestyles irrespective of the evil they invest their wealth into. Some of the wealthiest people in the world are responsible for doing the most harm and causing the most misery to others.
Tim Keller rightly noted: “We all worship something, religious or non-religious.” Some worship the gods of this world to their eternal demise, but the real question before us is: “Who or what do YOU worship?” And before you jump to a wrong conclusion, look at your calendar and your checkbook. Where do you invest your money and time?
On judgment day we’re each one going to give an account of how we invested our lives in eternity. On any given day we’re either pointing people to Jesus or to something or someone else. We ultimately answer to only one Person, who ironically, is the One to whom if every person who has ever lived or ever will live worshipped and sought to honor and praise Him for all His attributes, could worship for all eternity and still not exhaust the reasons for our “doxa!” Francis Chan insightfully asked: “Isn’t it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?”
Did you notice in the verse above what Satan asked Jesus to do in exchange for “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory?” He asked Jesus to “kneel down and worship me.” Do you find it ironic that the one who owns the kingdoms of the world would trade them all in a heartbeat to receive worship from the King of kings and Lord of lords? What does that tell us? First, there is no One greater than Jesus. When life on this planet ends and every person comes before the Lord Jesus, the Bible says that “every knee will bow, and every tongue confess to God.”
And, secondly, what Satan was so willing to give away is what most people today are selling their soul to have. But Jesus said: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” What’s so special about our soul? Why is it so valuable? It’s the only part of us that lives forever and has the capacity to know, love, and have fellowship with Jesus.
When will we wake up to realize that what Jesus offers us when He invites us to know and love Him is infinitely more valuable than the trinkets of this world? When will we come to terms with the fact that worshipping Him is the only real path to satisfaction, joy, and life as it was always meant to be?
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊