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. So what was wrong with the people wanting to assist the Almighty in the process? They knew from the Old Testament prophecies that is was indeed God’s ultimate goal for His Son to be the King who would fulfill God’s covenant with David. So what was wrong with what the people who wanted to make it happen right now and the reasons they had for doing it? Why did Jesus withdraw from them? The answer is that they wanted to make Jesus king by force for their temporal and earthly good, and that stood in direct opposition to the perfect plan and purpose of the Father.
Of course, it was Satan himself standing behind the people. When Satan failed to derail God’s plan with his wilderness temptations of Jesus, he did not abandon his fight against the Son of God. Luke’s gospel tells us that after Satan had been rebuffed by Christ in the wilderness, “he left [Jesus] until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). And so, seeing his opportunity, the devil stirred the hearts and minds of the people to rebel against God’s purpose and plan for Messiah. It was the sly strategy of the serpent to cause the crowd to clamor for the king they wanted, a king who would reestablish the throne of David in Jerusalem and remove the boot of Rome from their necks.
Perhaps, the adversary reasoned, Jesus could be tempted to don His king’s crown without having to endure the cruel cross. Here was an opportunity for instant gratification AND the accomplishment of God’s ultimate goal, as the mass of Jewish humanity was ready to rise up against the hated Roman oppressor and joyfully hand the King of Israel the throne of David. God’s goal for His beloved Son was within reach . . . but not according to God’s perfect plan to accomplish it.
Never forget that Jesus Christ was fully man, which means He had an ego that could have fallen prey to the applause of man and the heady appeal of popularity, just like any of us. Proverbs 27:21 warns us, “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.” Make no mistake, Satan was dangling a very real temptation for Jesus. The Bible tells us that Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), and that He “suffered when he was tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
Satan was laying a very real trap for our Savior, one that the enemy knew would disrupt God’s perfect plan if his scheme succeeded. But Jesus always immediately recognized “the snake in the grass,” who would do anything to derail the destiny of the Chosen One. Jesus knew when the accomplishment of God’s goal would not be good . . . that was when it was accomplished by human effort, rather than by submission to the Spirit.
I’d like to make one final point, and I pray that you will let 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 achieving it. Go back and reread today’s verse; how did our Lord deal with the temptation that Satan had thrown at Him?
Jesus withdrew again to a mountain by himself!
It was Jesus’ continual communion with His Father that kept Him on track. By praying continually, just as you and I are commanded to do (1 Thessalonians 5:17), Jesus was strengthened to stay the course and follow the will of His Father, even when that will was leading Him to the most awful, agonizing death known to man at that time: a Roman cross. Our Lord’s prayer life was the key that unlocked the door leading to a resolve that refused to even consider trying to accomplish any goal God had for Him in any way apart from the perfect plan of His Father.
How are you doing at that? Have you been seeking to accomplish God’s goals for your life in your way . . . or His way?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!