A Kingdom Without a Cross
- In Matthew 4:8-11 Jesus faces a third wilderness temptation, this time Satan offers Him all the kingdoms of the world. In what sense was Satan able to make this offer? In what more ultimate way was he really not able to make this offer? (Leaders: tease out the fact that while Satan is often called the god of this age – 2 Cor. 4:4 – and has a great deal of power in the world, yet he is not ultimately sovereign over the created order. There’s some irony here to work through).
- In verse 8 Satan shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth in their glory. What was missing in his display of these kingdoms? What did he leave out? Are there any parallels with Genesis 3 – what did he “forget” to mention to Eve?
- In verse 9, Satan’s pre-requisite for giving over all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus is that Jesus “fall down and worship” him. What does this reveal to us about Satan’s ultimate goal in temptation? (Leaders: Brad mentioned that Satan isn’t going to disrupt your plans or goals, so long as they don’t include the gospel. His goal is to give us our good desires separated and apart from the truth and power of the cross. Satan’s goal was to keep Jesus from the cross). Why would Satan want to keep Jesus from fulfilling His role as the Suffering Servant on the cross?
- Even though most of us won’t encounter such an overt demand from Satan to fall down and worship him (vs. 9), can you think of examples where Satan’s end goal shows up packaged differently in our lives? Any examples of seemingly great promises that came with (perhaps hidden) pricey caveats? Put another way, are there things that we (or society) often think of as good, but never seem to live up to their promise?
- What does Jesus’ response to Satan in verse 10 reveal about his heart and his priorities? (Leaders: He had desires for God’s plan. He didn’t settle for lesser things that didn’t satisfy).
- Given what we learned from this passage, how do we emulate Jesus in overcoming temptation? (Leaders: Brad mentioned that we can overcome temptation by worship. We are worshippers by nature, as Christians we replace what we worship by nature with affections for God that he cultivates in our heart.)