by Richard Mansel, assistant editor
You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt.
– “Hurt” by Johnny Cash
Satan tempted Jesus in order to destroy his mission. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1, NKJV). Jesus fasted for forty days and nights. Afterward, Satan came and offered three challenges to him.
First, Satan came to the starving Jesus and asked him to change stones to bread. Jesus refused and said, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Second, Satan told him to jump off the pinnacle of the temple because the angels would save him from harm. Jesus answered, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God'” (Matthew 4:7).
Third, Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth if he would bow down and worship him. Jesus said, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve'” (Matthew 4:10).
Satan is the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and the “ruler of this world” (John 14:30). He has nothing to offer except an empire of dirt and an eternal life in hell (Matthew 25:46).
He promises pleasure and delivers pain. He promises success and delivers sadness. His lies are powerful and piercing. He touches men in their most vulnerable spot and during their weakest moments. Jesus said, “broad is the way to destruction, and there are many who go in by it” (Matthew 7:13).
Satan offered Eve the incomparable promise to “be like God” if she would eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-5). Instead, she found tears, shame, banishment, pain, and death. Recorded for mankind is Satan’s first great lie. Yet, men have consistently ignored this warning ever since.
Satan offers sexual freedom and the ultimate pleasure and instead delivers disease, death, and dashed dreams. He flashes financial prosperity and delivers poverty and suicide. His bag of tricks contains bright colors and shiny objects that tarnish with the using. His path is littered with the carcasses of individual lives, dreams, and families. Yet, Satan is lauded as the man with the plan by millions. No greater con man ever existed.
Satan’s greatest lie is to convince men that he is fictitious. This allows him to control their lives without them realizing it. He can pull their strings as a grand puppet master and they will think they are dancing solo. What is not of God is of Satan. People scoff at this notion. No one, they insist, is telling them what to do. Yet, they are deluded in their denial.
Satan, though, is not all powerful (Job 1:6-12; Revelation 6:8). James says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). While he is stalking the earth seeking victims to pull away from God, we can stand firm against him and his evil lies (1 Peter 5:8,9).
Satan will indeed let us down and cause us pain. He has nothing to offer, while Jesus offers abundant life (John 10:10), redemption from sin (Romans 5:8,9), the peace “that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), and eternal life in heaven (John 14:1-6; Matthew 25:46). There is no question which deal is better.