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The Scriptorium

Whom to Worship

Only One is worthy. Luke 4.5-8

Luke 4: Part 1 (2)

Pray Psalm 115.1-3.
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
|Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.

Sing Psalm 115.1-3.
(Plainfield: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus)
Not to us, O God, not us, but unto Your Name give glory!
For Your love and faithfulness, ever to Your Name be glory!
Why should the nations cry, “Where is their God on high?”
You rule us, Lord, on high: Ever to Your Name be glory!

Read Luke 4.1-8; meditate on verses 5-8.

1. What did Satan want Jesus to do?

2. What did Jesus say in response?

Luke reverses the order of the last two temptations from Matthew’s account. It makes no difference; the outcome is the same. Satan proffers some bogus deal and Jesus rejects it, relying on the Word of God. Here the issue is worship, and in this we glimpse the black heart of the devil. What he desires above all else is to be worshipped. And not just worshipped but worshipped by God. That is, he wants to be God, to have the last word on everything, to be the final arbiter of all decisions, acknowledged as over all things supreme, and to be loved and admired by everyone.

Do you ever feel that temptation rising in your own soul?

What a blockhead. Did the devil really think Jesus would fall for this? The “authority” he offered, Jesus was in the process of taking away through the course of these temptations. And then the plundering of all Satan’s holdings would begin in earnest. Yes, Satan had had his way with the kingdoms of the earth for many years. But that situation was coming to an end. Jesus would demonstrate His authority over the devil over and over throughout the course of His ministry. What the devil offered Jesus, God would freely give Him upon His ascension to glory (cf. Dan. 7.13, 14, 25; Ps. 47).

We are to worship God only, and to serve Him as our reasonable worship (Rom. 12.1, 2). Satan’s proper place is behind Jesus, choking on His dust, floundering in His wake, groveling at His feet (see Gustave Doré’s wonderful engraving of this temptation). Make sure you’re in step with Jesus and not with the worship-seeking devil.

Jesus 2; devil 0.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Satan is the poster child for the word presumptuous. Hands down, he’s nailed it. “All this authority I will give You, and their glory…all will be Yours…if You will worship before me” (Lk. 4.6, 7). Jesus worship before him? Never.

This power and authority was not, nor ever had been Satan’s to wield. He might have experienced a few successes here and there, with some duped people, but his is not an authentic victory. Jesus the Christ said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28.18). And indeed, His it is.

“Get behind Me!” (Lk. 4.8) Jesus put Satan in his place. Behind Him. Get in line, because “you shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Lk. 4.8). I will not worship you.

God highly exalted Jesus and gave Him the Name which is above every name, that at His Name every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. To the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2.9-11). He had already been declared the beloved Son of God to be worshiped and glorified. So, try as he might, Satan could not, nor will he ever be able to usurp Christ’s place and authority (Ex. 20.1-7). “I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior” (Is. 43.11).

The enemy will always and eternally be in line behind Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God (Lk. 4.8; Matt. 6.16). 

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
from age to age the same,
and He must win the battle.
(Luther, 1529) 

For reflection
1. What kinds of things are people tempted to worship today other than the Lord?

2. How can you know when you are living under the authority of Jesus and not some lie?

3. What’s the best way to recognize when you’re being tempted to worship something other than the Lord?

Before [Jesus’] advent, Satan had deceived all under heaven and was himself worshiped everywhere. But the law of God, ejecting him from the dominion he had usurped by fraud, has commanded people to worship Him only who by nature and in truth is God and to offer service to Him alone. Cyril of Alexandria (375-444), Commentary on Luke, Homily 12

Pray Psalm 115.4-11.
Look to the Lord for help in whatever you are facing today. Do not trust in any idols – things, favorable circumstances, or your own wits or strength. Commit yourself to the Lord. Worship Him with rejoicing. Then go forth to serve Him with confidence.

Sing Psalm 115.4-11.
(Plainfield: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus)
Idols made by men's own hand – ever to Your Name be glory –
see nor hear nor understand: Ever to Your Name be glory!
They neither feel nor walk, nor can they speak or talk;
all those who serve them fall: But unto Your Name be glory!

All who trust in Jesus yield – ever to His Name be glory –
find in Him their help and shield: Ever to Your Name be glory!
O Israel, trust the Lord!  He helps us evermore!
Fear Him, obey His Word: Ever to Your Name be glory!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

The implications of Satan’s temptations are far-reaching. Our book, Satan Bound: A Theology of Evil, explains why these temptations were so important to Jesus’ work. Order a free copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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