So the first thing Saul was trying to secure was his Judaism. But there was also a second item that he was desperately trying to secure, namely, himself. Later his situation during this period was described as trying to “kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14), like an animal fighting one who is prodding it to go in a right direction. This meant that, although Saul was fighting against the Christians with intense zeal, he was at the same time fighting an even more intense struggle within the secret chambers of his heart.

Well if the Jewish leaders did not fear the disciples, what did they fear then? I am sure they would not have voiced this openly, but in my judgment what they actually feared was the resurrection. After all, they were not imperceptive, and they had been observing Jesus for the better part of three years. They had seen him heal the sick, give sight to the blind, cleanse the lepers, restore strength to the impotent.

Usually the Bible is not a funny book. The issues with which it deals are too grave. But the Bible is an honest book, and when it reports situations in life which are naturally funny it reflects them honestly and therefore with an appropriate sense of humor.

And then finally, you see the devil tempting Him to a shortcut to a great kingdom. He said to Him, "If you'll just fall down and worship me, I'll give you all the kingdoms of the world and their glory." I've noticed the plural there. All the kingdoms of the world and their glory. I supposed that's a contrast to that little kingdom of Judah. It's almost as if the devil would say, "Why are you going to waste your time on this little people, this far- off corner of the world? It's ridiculous. Who even cares who is the king of Judah? But if you'll fall down and worship me, I'll give you something that's worth being king of. I'll give you the glory of Greece and the grandeur of Rome. I'll give you the power of Europe in the Middle Ages. I'll give you England. I'll give you the United States. All of that can be yours if you'll just fall down and worship me."

There is also a third reason. He came to show the nature of His kingdom. That's why He came in the way He did. I think here of the great contrast between what Jesus actually did and what at an earlier point in Matthew's gospel the devil suggested He do. In the temptation of our Lord recorded in Matthew 4, the devil came to Him in the wilderness and suggested that the way He was going about things was inappropriate for one who wanted to be the king of the Jewish nation and of the world besides. He said, in effect, "You're hungry, here are these stones. You need to get into the miracle business and begin to do spectacular things by changing these stones into bread."