It's easy to forget that Jesus was tempted in every way, including areas of worldly wealth and power.
I was going through the book of Matthew the other day and read through the section about Jesus' temptation in the desert. I read it in a different light this time as, especially since I've been writing about the bible and money.
Here's the situation. Satan took Jesus to the top of a mountain, showed him all the riches in the world and said “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
Without hesitation, Jesus rejected the Devils offer. How he rejected it was interesting to me as I read this passage again. He didn't say ‘Not interested Devil. I'm Jesus and can ask my father for anything.” No, it wasn’t about the money or possessions for Jesus, which is clear to see in his answer.
Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’”
Jesus knew that pursuing the riches of this world could keep you from fully worshiping God and serving him alone. The amount of money really didn’t matter. We can lose sight of our true purpose in the small temptations just as we can in the large things.
Man Doesn’t Live On Bread Alone
I know I’m moving backwards in the story, but I want to back up to the first temptation that was presented to Jesus. It was the Devil telling Jesus to turn stone into bread. Jesus’ response was that, “man doesn’t live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
This is fundamental to understanding how Jesus could reject all the riches and power offered to him next. Jesus doesn’t deny that man needs bread or resources to sustain life. What he does make clear is that money and possessions, food, and water aren’t what give us true life.
True life only comes from God and setting your sights on his will. Worshiping him is what matters in this life.
I know it’s not anything groundbreaking, but sometimes you just read a scripture a little differently and gain something new from the stories that you’ve heard for so long.
What are your thoughts? Do you ever feel that the temptations of riches can keep you from worshiping God with your full attention? How do you stay focused?