Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
The first temptation was aimed at Jesus in the matter of the appetite of the body. The second in that of the audacious ambition of a daring mind, whose pride of self and of thought would court every presumption whatsoever. The third is an immediate assault on the properly spiritual nature of man, which involves first of all conception of duty, of religion, and of its grandest presentation in commandment the first, for ever and ever the first! It "goes without saying" that no description more brief, comprehensive, true, addresses itself to the fixing of what it is that is amiss with man than this - that he forgets that he is estranged from his being's first glory, the worship of its Creator, Father, sovereign Owner, God. And when this is well remembered, that one type of temptation should be recorded in this direction is what we should entirely expect. It may be held probable that the eighth verse goes a long way to give a satisfactory clue as to how far the details of the scenery of these temptations are to be read literally. It is plain that here they cannot be read so absolutely. None the less, in our opinion, is the groundwork in this case itself most real; in other words, we believe the scene was the summit of a high mountain, although even the narrowest exegesis of the expression "all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them," may be too wide for literal construing. Notice in the description of this temptation that -
I. IT BEGS THE VANTAGE-GROUND, THE ENHANCING CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE IMPRESSION, LENT BY ACTUAL SIGHT. That this kind of consideration may legitimately be set to the credit of Christ's combined nature is sufficiently shown by the numerous occasions in which we find such things as these - that his "tears," his "deep anger," his immeasurable "grief," reached their climax respectively when his eye actually "beheld" (the city), "saw (her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her), looked round about" (upon them, being grieved, etc.). For those even who believe that the temptations of Jesus were conducted only in vision, the words "actual sight" may still have their meaning.
II. IT WENT DIRECT TO THE SUBSTANCE OF THE WORK WHICH BROUGHT CHRIST TO EARTH, THE SECURING OF THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD. To give what facility may be possible to any conception of the feasibility of Satan's fulfilling the offer of his tempting, we might imagine that he meant he would "give all the kingdoms," etc., in the sense of utterly retreating himself from the conflict; and from the endeavour, at present too successful, to win the world for his own. On the other hand, we know by what very different method, of the Passion and blood of Christ, the victory was to be won, and Satan to be dispossessed of his hold.
III. IT ASSERTS (Luke 4:6), WHAT CHRIST AT ALL EVENTS DOES NOT DENY OR CHALLENGE, A CERTAIN ABSOLUTE HOLD ON THE WORLD ON THE PART OF SATAN, AND BY SOME SORT OF RIGHT. It is a thing supremely worthy of note that, in so small a compass as the description of the facts of the temptation, a place should thus be found for the recognition of a phenomenon so inscrutable, and so undeniably embedded in the facts of the world, in the statements of Scripture, and in the very grain of universal theology.
IV. IT PRESENTS ITSELF IN TEMPTATION'S ABSOLUTE, ESSENTIAL, FORM. The essential crucial question in all temptation of moral matter is this - Will a man bow down from himself, from his God, to worship untruth, to do the thing called sin, to honour the thing called evil, to act the thing called a lie, to worship Satan? These things, all mystery apart, arc to" worship." Satan, and not to "worship the Lord God."
V. IT GETS ITSELF ITS ANSWER, POSITIVE AND SWIFT. This twofold answer is revealed.
1. The instinctive resentment of the nature: "Get thee behind me, Satan!"
2. The unqualified confession of the philosophy of that resentment: "It is written," i.e. written in reason, in conscience, in the Word: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;