National Trust/Art Resource, NY

The kingdoms of the world stretch before Jesus and his nemesis in Joachim Patinir’s “Temptation of Christ” (c. 1485–1524). The third test—the devil tempts Jesus to worship him and gain the world—is of an entirely different order than the first two: The devil here asks Jesus to wholly reject God. Matthew depicts the third test on a “very high mountain,” perhaps to draw parallels between Jesus on the mountain and Moses on Mount Nebo (Deuteronomy 34:1–4), and, by extension, between Jesus and his Israelite forebears. As God shows Moses the Promised Land, so the devil shows Jesus the world’s dominions. The devil says to Jesus, “All these things I will give you,” while God promises Moses, “I will give” this land to Israel. Unlike the Israelites, who broke their covenant with God once they were secure in the Promised Land, Jesus is not tempted by the allure of wealth and power and retains his allegiance to the one true God. Quoting Deuteronomy a third time, Jesus declares: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him alone shall you serve” (Deuteronomy 6:13).