From the very birth of the Lord Jesus, it is known to Satan who He is and the scheme is put into operation to engulf Him in the massacre of a whole multitude of infants. The cruelty of the evil one to murder a mass to get ONE! He is after One – he is not after the crowd.
We have no record of any efforts of the enemy from that time until the Lord steps across the line which runs between His private life and His public life; and then He meets the enemy immediately. And what is the question? “If Thou wilt… worship me” (Matt. 4:9). That is what he is after. It is right out he is betrayed at once; and it is that issue right up to the Cross. “If Thou wilt worship me…” It comes in a multitude of different ways. Satan only wants an acknowledgment, the ascribing to him of some rights in the universe.
But, ah, the Lord never recognized those rights just as Mordecai refused to recognize the right of Haman. This is one of the most beautiful things in the book of Esther. Here is Haman claiming to be somebody: he has gained eminence, and everybody is bowing to him. But Mordecai refuses to recognize any of his glory, and ignores it all. And you remember Haman’s story to his family. ‘I am a great man; I have much goods, many children: but what is the good of it all if this one man will not recognize me?’ (Esther 5:9-13). It is a foreshadowing. There is One who counts more than all the rest, and until He can be captured or get out of the war the enemy’s fullness is divided. That One will not recognize Satan and that One is destined to bring about his doom.
The Lord Jesus met that all the way through, refusing to attribute to Satan one atom of right in this universe. He was out to challenge that, to secure all the rights for God in His own Person, and to come to the Throne Himself with those rights. And when He has done it we see the same thing going on with the Church. It is still the Church’s great issue: the worshippers and the worshipped, and the place or the no-place of the enemy.