I Will Give You All Their Authority and Splendor

LUKE 4:1–6

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.”


Ever wish you had control—of people and situations and outcomes? Ever wish you had resources—of money and influence and power? Or have you ever had a position of influence, and you controlled people and situations with it? Or have you ever had a platform, and you fed on praise from others to meet a hole within our heart?

Each time we add a new word or phrase from the passage, we are leaving the previous parts of the passage there. Why? The Hebrew word for meditation (“who meditates on his law day and night,” Ps. 1:2) is the word hagah and carries in it the idea that it is by mulling over, repeating continually, chewing on (like a dog with a bone), and lingering in passages in the Word of God that the riches of the meditation literature that is the Scriptures can be fully savored and their flavor extracted.

That is what we are doing with this passage, and the Holy Spirit will continue to give us insights as we read it over and over, now with new light shining on it given during the time and space we have set aside for taking in the mysteries of God’s Word.

Today, the words of the devil to Jesus, in the second temptation, weigh heavy on us—because we see our desires laid bare in them.

“I will give you all their authority and splendor.”

Authority, when the devil is talking about it, means something different than when God is talking about it. The satanic version of authority is authoritarian—it means sole oversight; control; the power to do what you want, when you want, any way you want; arrogant and self-serving leadership; and a lack of accountability.

Splendor, when the devil is talking about it, means something different than when God is talking about it. The satanic version of splendor is self-focused remarkability and self-glory. It means attractive, desirous, above the less beautiful, shiny, and impressive.

The devil is seeking to unseat and unsettle Jesus from his core vocation as the humble and self-giving Son of God who will take on the character of the Suffering Servant from Isaiah 53: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” (vv. 2b–3).

Jesus’s vision of the worldly authority of earthly kingdoms contrasted with his view of holy kingship; he didn’t need human authority to get his work of loving, serving, dying, and rising done. He did not need, nor want, a president’s title, a prime minister’s power, nor a prince’s purview.

Jesus’s vision of the worldly splendor of earthly kingdoms contrasted with his view of the kingdom of God; he didn’t need remarkable cities, opulent palaces, or exciting entertainment to get his work done of loving, serving, dying, and raising up a movement of covenant people operating within his unseen rule and reign.

The same temptations come to us. Would you like absolute control, so no one can hurt you, and people will simply do what you want without pushing back? Would you like wealth and beauty, and all that the kingdoms of this world have to offer without needing to follow God or have any parameters on your freedom?

Jesus rejects the enemy’s vision of authority and splendor, and the attraction of the kingdoms of this world. We stand with Jesus, in seeing and promoting a kingdom that is not of this world—and subverts the values of these earthly kingdoms in every aspect. Humbly, we walk forward, in the authority and splendor only a child of God can be robed in.


Lord of the Wild, this temptation tugs on our hearts as those who live in this world, often with struggle and heartache, following you in a foreign territory. Fill our inward imaginations with a vision of a kingdom that endures forever and, ultimately, heals the human heart—including our own. In Jesus’s name, amen.


What areas of control and splendor have most tempted you in the world’s kingdoms? How and where have you found strength to overcome their draw?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. I can honestly say that I’m not really tempted by these offers of worldly greatness. My weaknesses lay elsewhere. My greatest unmet desire is to see the corruption of evil forces that have infiltrated our former trusted institutions to be fully exposed and brought to justice. It’s very difficult for me to read the current news about what’s happening in our world, both the secular and religious, without getting extremely angry. It seems that Satan and his demonic hoard are having a field day, in the church, the government, the entertainment, the news, and academic institutions and the pharmaceutical industry. I constantly have to remind myself that Satan is the “god” of this world and that the day will come when God’s judgment will prevail. Until that day comes, I know that Jesus said, “to watch and pray.”

  2. Isn’t it ironic that satan offers Jesus all He created and allows humanity to create? He offers Jesus a position of authority Christ already had.
    It wasn’t what satan offered Jesus that mattered; it was if Jesus accepted the offer. Possibly satan was pridefully reminding Jesus (like Jesus didn’t remember) that Adam took the same request in the garden when he said, “The authority was given to me, and I can give it to whom I please.”
    The evil one does the same to us. He offers false love, fake joy, and shakable peace from a world that only offers temporary pleasures, mostly with unwanted circumstances attached. When he offers us authority over people and things through sin, no way, Hosa, is our response! It’s not the size of the sin, but the saying yes to the author of sin he wants.
    It’s easy to decline satan’s offers, instead of saying yes to sin, we say yes to Him! Jesus Christ our Lord!
    Staying 💪’n Christ

  3. Human hierarchies and can command, coerce, and compel obedience, but they can’t cancel the corruption that is in people’s hearts and replace it with God’s glory. Even the best ecclesiology can’t lead a church to splendor and set the captives free. Only “Christ in you” can do that.

    Jesus calls His disciples to surrender to the kingdom of God and to be transformed by His ongoing inner presence. He wants His followers to be ever led from within by His Spirit, not by the demands and domination of a religious authority structure.

    Experience true splendor every day! Have faith in Christ in you. Trust the Holy Spirit and continually obey His inner promptings.

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