An Alternative to Obedience

Again, the Devil *took Him along to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and [worship me.” Matthew 4:8-9 NASB

Temptation always comes to us in the form of an alternative to obedience.

A preexistent, triune God has always planned to give the Son the world’s nations, just as Satan had promised Jesus. The difference was that Jesus would receive the promise by worshiping and obeying only God the Father, even to His death on the Cross.

Satan offered Jesus an alternative to the Cross. To get the desired outcome, instead of suffering and shame, he had to bow his knee to the Devil. On the surface, disobedience usually looks better than obedience, but there is always a cost. The cost would have been to forsake his love and intimate fellowship with his Father.

Christ also would have had to have ignored what was written. “For it is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'” (Matthew 4:10b NASB). The price would have been for Him to have denied His own Word. Obedience adheres to the truth of the Word of God, no matter the consequences. Thank God, Jesus said it is written, and Devil had to flee, for the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12a NASB).

I believe that Jesus, on the journey to the Cross, in his humanness, pondered how he could have avoided all the pain and suffering if he had taken Satan’s offer. There is another reason other than his love for his Father that determined His decision: His love for us. I believe He could not bear the thought of an eternity without you and me, which drove Him to climb that tree.

An alternative to obedience, directly or indirectly, is designed to keep us from the Cross. It was true for Christ, and so it will be for us.

The image is used with permission from Microsoft.

Ken Barnes is the author of “Broken Vessels,” published in February 2021, and “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” published by YWAM Publishing in 2011.

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