"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be temptedby the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him." Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus came to kill the power of pride in the human nature. He struck at the heart of pride by releasing all claims on power, prestige or possessions. He surrendered to the sovereignty of God and became an obedient servant to both God and man.
Neither Jesus nor you are able to overcome pride without defeating the three "p's" - power, prestige and possessions. At the very beginning of His earthly ministry He was confronted by the devil with these three temptations.
In a recent post I shared how Jesus withstood the temptation to misuse His power by turning stones into bread so He could satisfy His hunger.
Because Jesus passed the temptation to abuse or misuse His power guess what? God gave Him more power!
In the verses highlighted in red above, Jesus was challenged by the temptation of prestige. Since every one of us has a strong desire to be well thought of and respected and admired the offer of instant prestige is quite powerful! And that's what Satan offered to Jesus.
All Jesus would have to do is to take a swan dive from the pinnacle of a prominent building and be caught by the angels the instant before He hits the ground. What a spectacular publicity stunt that would have been! Jesus' fame would have spread world-wide before sunset! Why die on a cross when you can dive into immediate celebrity status?
That was the enticing proposition posed to Jesus' pride as He prepared to launch His preaching ministry.
What young person beginning his career does not aspire to becoming prestigious? Who would not find it
a powerful pull on their pride to be promised instant prestige? Jesus probably did, too! At least the human part of Him!
But Jesus met the powerful proposal with the power of Scriptural perspective - ”Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
When Satan offered Jesus the temptation He met it with the truth! When Satan targeted His flesh Jesus countered with faith. When Satan tried to manipulate His feelings Jesus countered with facts and the fact was that Jesus had surrendered the prestige of Heaven and exaltation by angels so what could Satan offer Him?
Once again, Jesus killed pride before it could kill Him. He shut it out before it could shut Him in. He killed the temptation to power and He killed the temptation to prestige. And He did it to show it can be done. He did it to help you overcome the temptations of pride.
May I remind you that if you long for power and are drawn to the need for prestige, devote yourself fully to Jesus Who can offer you more power and prestige than you will ever need.