The Last Temptation

"Temptation of Christ" (1872) by Vasily Surikov

"Temptation of Christ" (1872) by Vasily Surikov

In his final attempt to divert Jesus from his mission Satan took Jesus to a mountain top and revealed the kingdoms of this world in all their glory. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me” (Matt 4:8-10).

Satan was offering political and cultural power without the cross. Jesus can have everything he’s come for, without the horror of a shameful death for the sins of the world. The devil was offering him a way out. A painless road to victory.

Jesus answered, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’

What did Jesus choose instead? To worship the Lord his God, and serve him only. This worship goes beyond the singing of praises. This is the worship of a surrendered life. The worship of a Servant humbling himself and becoming obedient unto death. Even death on a cross.

Our enemy continues to divert God’s people from their mission with the offer of a kingdom without the cross. A mission without the gospel. Heaven on earth without repentance and faith in the crucified One.

But there is no kingdom without the King. No salvation without the Savior.

Jesus’ commission to his disciples was clear. This message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations (Luke 24:47). The core missionary task is to make disciples of the nations by going and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:18-20).

Through Christ we receive the power of the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Wherever the Word goes in the power of the Spirit, the fruit of our mission is disciples and churches (Acts 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; 19:20).

That’s the core missionary task. Don’t be distracted.