Remember the story of Christ’s temptation in the desert? (If not, you can read it here.)
I first heard this story as a child, probably accompanied by an illustrated Bible or a flannel board story. Christ being tempted by the devil. It made no sense to me.
I recently re-read this story as part of a course to qualify for ministerial credentials. I found myself again thinking, ‘How silly of satan. Of course Jesus wouldn’t fall for this ridiculous nonsense, why does He need satan’s permission to have authority over the few kingdoms He can see when He knows He really rules everything? Why would he fall for these pathetic lies?’
In fact, it would not have made sense for Jesus to succumb to these temptations. While He was fully human, He also was fully divine – He knew and knows how the story will end. He knows that He wins. There was no need to take any other route to victory.
Then a more sobering thought struck me. Are we not heirs to the same Kingdom? Why is it that we fall for these lines? Power…greed…safety…comfort… We have access to the same power that raised Christ from the dead…and yet we fall for it. We crave the temporary comforts, we seize the power of the moment, forgetting or choosing to ignore what is in store for us in the future. [pullquote]We have access to the same power that raised Christ from the dead…and yet we fall for it. We crave the temporary comforts, we seize the power of the moment, forgetting or choosing to ignore what is in store for us in the future.[/pullquote]
I always think about how silly it would have been for Jesus to say oh ok, yes I want power over these kingdoms so I will give up everything for this moment…no. Jesus authoritatively and confidently used the Word of God to remind satan – and us – that this is not a contest. It is not a win or lose situation. We know how the story ends. We know that we are victorious, we know what eternity holds for us.
May we keep our eyes on the truth, on the promises that we have been given. May we remember what is in store for us, and may we move about our lives with the confidence and authority to seize what is ours as heirs of the Kingdom of God.