“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” Luke 4:5
In a specific point in time, in a mere instant, Satan showed Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world. The devil didn’t take Jesus to these kingdoms but revealed them to Him. He made known in a visual sense all of the greatness, power and riches of the world.
Here is something extremely important to highlight. The word, “moment” comes from the Greek word “stigme“. It is where we (English language) get the word stigma meaning a mark of shame or discredit.
At that split second in time the devil tried to defame Christ and mark Jesus as his own.
“To ancient oriental usage, slaves and soldiers bore the name or the stamp of their master or commander branded or pricked (cut) into their bodies to indicate what master or general they belonged to, and there were even some devotee’s who stamped themselves in this way with the token of their gods,” according to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon meaning of stigme.
The Temptation of Christ
The temptation of Christ was an attempt to taint the blood of Jesus; branding him as a slave, shaming him as the Christ and voiding the cross.
But notice the tactic the devil employed; time, or the lack there of. In an instant, a moment the devil showed everything to Christ. It’s the same tactic employed by a super salesman. “Buy now,” because the offer will not last. The strongest closing tool any salesman has is immediacy. It’s now or never.
The devil still uses the pressure of time tactic today. How many times have we acted on impulse and not principle? How many bad decisions have we made because we didn’t think things through? The greatest ally to temptation is the lack of time.
The Devil and Pressure
Temptation is a pressure. Time is the here and now. The devil wraps up temptation, pressure and time into one big package and offers it up to us all. But because Jesus Christ did not fall, (“taking him up into an high mountain” was to be symbolic of the fall) we can mark that package, “Return to sender”.
But being marked isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What the devil tried to trick Jesus into doing, the Apostle Paul did willingly for Christ.
“From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Galatians 6:17
The words “marks” and “moment” come from the same Greek word. Paul was being a true martyr and taking up his cross and following Christ. He wanted the world to know that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior.
It is fun to see what the rabbinical thought was about the length of time a, “moment” was. According to John Lightfoot (1602-1675), the English theologian and Hebraist, “The doctors tell us: How much is a moment? It is the fifty-eight thousand, eight hundred, eighty-eighth part of an hour. Very accurately calculated truly!”
In reality the actual length of time is for the most part inconsequential and is best described as in a “moment”.
Tomorrow we continue with the temptation of Christ with part two entitled, “The Lie”.