First Sunday in Lent
[4:1] And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness
 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.  The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."  And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.' "  And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,  and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.  If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours."  And Jesus answered him, "It is written,
" 'You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.' "
 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,  for it is written,
" 'He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,'
" 'On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.' "
 And Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.' "  And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. Luke 4:1-13 (ESV)
“And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delievered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “you shall worship the Lord your God,
And him only shall you serve.”
Rather peculiar. Jesus doesn’t debate with the devil. The devil says the world belongs to him and Jesus all but agrees with him, but politely denies the offer to take it over. I can’t imagine what restraint it must have taken. Us sinful men are always clamoring for power, wealth, fame. We want to be in control. Here it was offered to Jesus. But Jesus didn’t want it.
Jesus had an advantage though, he knew heaven. Jesus knew that there was more to life than this world, and this world can’t hold a candle to the heavenly kingdom of his father. We too need to remember that. It is not that we shouldn’t care about this world or the politics that surround us. We should. But not in such a way that it becomes our god. And that is the temptation. Politics as religion.
But even so for Jesus there was something far more tempting than just dominion over the kingdoms of the world. Oh in a sense he already has that. But this was his opportunity to set up his kingdom, to rule it directly, to put up that millennial kingdom made famous by so many books of twisted doctrine. This was his chance to make the world as perfect as it possibly could be. And it was his chance to do it without the cross. It is what he came to do, to redeem the world. The millennialists of his day, and there were many, thought this would happen when the messiah came and Israel became the new Rome, only better. Not only would the messiah win freedom for Israel, but he would rule the world from Jerusalem. Some people still believe this today. And to get there? We have to make ourselves perfect. But all Jesus had to do was prostrate himself before the devil.
Should tell you something about politics in this world. It will always be a bargain with the devil. That goes for politics in the church too. It’s law, and where the law is there the devil stands self appointed watchman. For now we need law, we need politics in this world. When Christians go into politics, it should not be for the end of worldly gain, but thereby to serve one’s neighbor. It is an act of self denial for a Christian to involve himself in politics, an act of service to our neighbor. Should be anyway.
But for Jesus. He repeatedly, repudiated the world, and politics. He wouldn’t play the game, because he had an endgame in mind. One that only he could act on. One that only he could put into motion, and it required that he become not king in an earthly sense. He was not so enamored with this world that he would see it saved through law, but enamored with us that he would see the law destroyed and this world through it with the gospel. So he went to the cross, because he knew that was the only way he could save us from this world, from the law. He knew there was only one way, and that way was the cross, death and resurrection. The baptism we have been baptized into.
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord Amen.