"It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'" (Luke 4:8)

Jesus says this to the devil as he is being tempted in the desert during his forty-day fast.

Why did Jesus fast for 40 days?

Jesus fasting and sacrifice in the desert was meant to please the Supreme Being. It also served to prepare Jesus to begin teaching. Jesus' sacrifice symbolized the sacrifice of Moses and his students as they traveled through the desert guided by God.

We also find that Jesus' sacrifice and exchange with the allegorical "devil" provided a platform for understanding the focus of Jesus' teachings.

What does Jesus answer mean?

Jesus is quoting Moses. In reality, Jesus' statement provides clarification for a mistranslation that occurs throughout the Old Testament.

Jesus begins his statement with "It is written." This indicates that he was quoting scripture. In fact, we find that Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:13, a statement by Moses:
"Fear the LORD your God, serve Him only..." (Deut 6:13)
Wait a second. Even though Biblical scholars have accepted that Jesus was quoting Deut. 6:13, the verse is not precisely the same, as Jesus said:
"'Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'"
So while Deut. 6:13 supposedly says "Fear the Lord," Jesus says "Worship the Lord." Why the difference and does it even make a difference?

Jesus' teachings revolved around coming to love God and serve God.

How can you love someone you fear?

The translation to 'fear' is a mistranslation.

A number of verses from the Old Testament utilize the word "fear" in their reference to the Supreme Being. But ironically, most of those same teachers that were teaching love for God were also quoted as promoting the "fear" of God.

And even Moses, who supposedly used the word "fear," also promotes love for God, as he said:
"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut. 6:5)
Indeed, some sectarian teachers have promoted the idea that while the Old Testament teachers taught of an angry God who demanded that people fear Him, while Jesus introduced a more loving, forgiving God.

Such an interpretation, however, is contradicted by Moses' own teachings (for example, in Deut. 6:5) as well as the teachings of Joshua, David, Abraham, Jacob and many other Prophets, who loved God. For example, Joshua said:
"So be very careful to love the LORD your God." (Joshua 23:11)
And David's teachings:
"Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked." (Psalm 97:10)
We also find many other pledges about God from all the teachers of the Old Testament concerning loving God, including those also supposedly used the word "fear."

Rather, the word "fear" with respect to God in the Old Testament is a mistranslation.

"Fear" is being translated from the Hebrew root word, ירא (yare'). While one possible meaning of this word could be "fear"; according to the lexicon, ירא (yare') can also mean "to stand in awe of, be awed," or "to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe," or "to inspire reverence..."

In other words, the word "fear" is an inappropriate translation. Why? Because it is out of context with the rest of the message being communicated by those teachers of the Old Testament. The more appropriate translation would be, as Jesus clarifies, is "worship." This could be alternatively used with "awe" or "revere."

One can certainly love someone they also revere or hold in awe. This is completely consistent. "Reverence" is also synonymous with admiration, adoration, esteem, loyalty, praise and worship according to the thesaurus. And this is consistent with Jesus' translation, as he uses the word "worship," coming from the Greek word προσκυνέω (proskyneō), which means to make homage, worship, make obeisance and other supplications according to the lexicon.

Why was this translated to fear?

The early translations of the Biblical scriptures were transliterated from Greek and Hebrew to Latin. These early scriptures were not intended for general public consumption. Because most people could not read. Furthermore, the Roman government and its Roman Catholic Church banned the possession and use of any scripture in private homes.

This meant that the Latin Bible developed by the Romans was intended for use by Catholic priests, who would instill fear among the people. The general population was supposed to get their knowledge directly from the priests, who would read the Latin Bible.

We can see such an agenda as we find that the Book of Revelations - while hardly the last manuscript written - was put last in the Bible in an attempt to extend a warning to the general public about straying from the Church. Its last verses warn that "adding" or "taking away" "from this book of prophesy" will bring about plagues and take away a share in the "tree of life."

The Book of Revelations was put last in the Bible to imply that there are no other scriptures outside of the Holy Bible. This is being taught even though the Revelation verses are obviously referring to the Book of Revelation, and Jesus himself read and even quoted from scripture manuscripts not contained in the Bible.

This doesn't mean that the original manuscripts of the Bible contain falsehoods. It simply means that those who assembled and translated the ancient texts into the Bible had an agenda, and their agenda produced a document that has misled many into a false impression of the Supreme Being. (See a non-sectarian translation of the earliest Gospel texts.)

The bottom line is that the translations of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew to Latin was accomplished with a political purpose. Those who translated the books of the Old Testament had a lack of understanding of the Supreme Being. They themselves had not established a relationship of love with the Supreme Being. Their translations merely mirrored this lack of relationship with God. And this goes even for those "scholars" with tuition-paid degrees and appointed (elected) clergy positions within institutions that continue to promote an agenda of political position and authority.

Jesus, on the other hand, does no such thing. By his statement, Jesus knows perfectly well not only what Moses said, but also indicates that he indeed practiced Moses' instruction: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'

Notice also that Jesus does not say "serve God and serve me" in his statement. He doesn't say "Worship the Lord your God as well as me, Jesus." He clearly says "only," as in "solely."

If Jesus was God, why didn't he simply say, "Worship me and serve me only"? Was he trying to trick people? Was he creating some sort of mystery?

Rather, Jesus clearly states "the Lord your God." "God" means Supreme Being. "God" means Controller of everything. The Controller over everything does not need to become a man and suffer on the cross for our sins.

Does God have to follow rules of sacrifice?

Certainly not. God can remove sins with a simple thought. He does not need to engage in any kind of sacrifice to suffer for our sins. This teaching contradicts the superiority of the Supreme Being. It contradicts the existence of an all-powerful Supreme Being. Such a teaching is thus atheistic.

This doesn't mean that we cannot worship Jesus. But it means that we must worship Jesus solely in relation to God. Jesus is God's representative: God's loving servant. But Jesus clearly is not God. He is obviously referring to someone else as God. This is evidenced by Jesus' statement:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)
Again, note the word "only" in this statement. Jesus is clearly teaching - just as did Moses, Joshua, David, Samuel, and John the Baptist - that we should use our lives to worship and serve the Supreme Being, and eventually, through those activities, come to know Him more and more, and learn to love Him with all of our being. This is confirmed by Moses' primary teaching, and by Jesus' most important instruction:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'" (Luke 10:27 and Deut 6:5)