Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. (John 6:15)
God the Father sent God the Son to be King of His people. The people knew from the Old Testament prophecies that this was God’s ultimate goal, to send a Messiah who would “defend the afflicted among the people and . . . crush the oppressor” (Psalm 72:4). So what could be wrong with the people wanting to assist the Almighty in the process by making Jesus king immediately? The problem lay in the way the people wanted to do it and the reasons they had for doing it. They wanted to make Jesus king by force for their temporal and earthly good, which stood in direct opposition to the plan and purpose of the Father.
Of course, behind the people stood Satan himself. When Satan failed in his wilderness temptations of Jesus, he was not finished with his bitter rebellion against the Son of God; Scripture tells us that Satan merely left Jesus “until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). Surely this was one of those opportune times that Lucifer had been waiting for. The adversary stirred the hearts and minds of the people to rebel against God’s purpose and plan for the Messiah. Just as the serpent seduced Adam and Eve into believing that they could be like God, here he caused the crowd to clamor for the king they wanted—the king who would reestablish the throne of David in Jerusalem, crush the hated Roman oppressor, and restore Israel to her former glory.
The enemy undoubtedly hoped that Jesus would be tempted to be crowned king without having to endure the cruel cross. The people of Israel were ready to rise up against Rome and hand the King of kings the throne of David. Satan hoped that Jesus would see this as an opportunity for instant gratification and the accomplishment of God’s ultimate goal. Satan had slyly placed God’s goal for His beloved Son within tantalizing reach . . . but not according to God’s perfect plan to accomplish that goal.
Never forget that Jesus the Christ was fully God and fully man. And as a man, Jesus had an ego that could have fallen prey to the praise of men and the appeal of popularity, just like any of us. But our Lord always recognized the “snake in the grass,” who would do anything and everything to derail the divine destiny of the Chosen One. Jesus knew when the accomplishment of God’s goal would not be good.
Notice one final thing, and may this truth strengthen you to resist the devil whenever he comes calling to entice you to accomplish any good goal God would have for you in a way that is not in line with God’s plan and purpose for accomplishing it.
Jesus withdrew again to a mountain by Himself.
Jesus’ continual communion with His Father kept Him on track. By staying in perpetual prayer, Jesus was strengthened to stay the course and follow the will of His Father, even when that will would lead to the most dreadful death known to man at that time: a Roman cross. The prayer life of our Lord was the key that unlocked the door leading to a resolve that refused to accomplish any goal God had for Him in any way that detoured from His Father’s perfect plan.
How is it with you? Have you been prayerfully seeking to accomplish God’s goals for your life in His way? Recall our Lord’s prayer to His Father in the midst of His anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane:
Not as I will, but as You will. (Matt 26:39)
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!