01 November 2015

Luke 4

Wow, I'm early with this this week for a change! The fourth chapter of Luke picks up right after Christ's baptism in the Jordan River, beginning with the temptation in the desert and following the early part of His public ministry. This passage jumped out at me as I was reading today:

And the devil led him into a high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time;

And he said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them.

If thou therefore wilt adore before me, all shall be thine.

And Jesus answering said to him: It is written: Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

What caught my attention was that Christ didn't contradict the devil's claims that all of the kingdoms of the world belong to him, and that he can give them to whomever he wishes. Nero, Diocletian, civilizations that practiced human sacrifice like Carthage or the Aztecs, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Hussein... It certainly has seemed, all through history, that some regimes have been diabolically inspired. But one name for the devil is the "father of lies," so is he here telling the truth, exaggerating, or out and out lying?

Psalm 23:1 The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and all they that dwell therein.

If all the earth and all the people in it belong to God, then "all the kingdoms of the world" can't literally belong to the devil. He is offering to give Christ what already belongs to Christ, and if it belongs to Christ, the devil doesn't have the ability to hand it out to anyone else. He does have some sway, though, given the fallen state of Man and our inclinations to sin: more obviously so in some "kingdoms" than others, but to a degree everywhere—the only people with perfectly pure, sinless hearts are in heaven.

Matt also pointed out that in context, no rebuttal of that point was strictly necessary. It didn't matter *what* He was offered, or whether the offer was valid or not: Christ was not going to agree to worship the devil. He didn't have to say "No, and that's not yours to offer anyway."

Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. That's going to be my verse to reflect on this week; goodness knows, I need to be reminded of it often enough. Not in a golden calf sort of way, but in every little instance when doing what I want to sounds easier or more enjoyable than doing what He's asking of me: choosing not to be "too tired" when Little Bear wants help building with blocks, bundling everyone in snow gear and going out to play even though it takes longer to get dressed/undressed than the kids will end up wanting to stay outside, putting celery in the soup because everyone else likes it better that way. Cultivating the domestic church is hardly glamorous! But it certainly does offer a lot of little opportunities to serve God by putting others first.

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