THE WORSHIP CRISIS
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Matt 4:8-11 ESV)
Jesus was nearing the completion of a forty-day fast—a time of prayer, consecration, and communion with God the Father. Interestingly, the Bible doesn’t tell us anything about his conversations with God. Although, I’m sure there were deep moments of fellowship, reflection, and even divine manifestations. However, Scripture does tell us of Jesus’ interaction with Satan, and this is certainly not by accident. In verse 9, we hear Satan’s last effort to derail Jesus during his fast, “All these things I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus responds emphatically, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
I’m sure at some point you’ve gazed longingly into this passage admiring Jesus’ spiritual resolve. Maybe you’ve even drawn fuel from this story to resist temptation. But one of the most interesting things about this story is not what Jesus says to Satan but rather what Satan says to him, “fall down and worship me.” Why is this interaction between Jesus and Satan relevant to us?
Satan’s request gives us insight into the world in which we live. Primarily, that the greatest struggle in this world is over the issue of worship. Everyone worships. The question is what or whom? And because we are all broken by sin, we are by nature bad worshippers. We elevate the wrong things and devalue the right things. We find ourselves in a worship crisis.
Satan was hoping to entice Jesus in the same way that he has allured every human being in history. However, Jesus was no mere man. He was God in the flesh. He proved his divinity through his sinless life, death on the cross, burial, and resurrection. Game over. Or to use Jesus’ words “it is finished.” The worship crisis has been solved because Christ’s perfect sacrifice opened the way for us to become true worshippers.
This week churches all over the world in our Every Nation movement and elsewhere will set aside time to fast, pray, and consecrate ourselves before God. This is a time to remember that Jesus once and for all has restored our identity in worship.