Monday, May 16, 2016

Well Said: The Kingdoms of the World

In the Gospel of Matthew, we find the account of Jesus’ confrontation with the devil in the desert. After tempting Christ with sensual pleasure (“turn these stones into bread”) and with glory (“throw yourself down and the angels will hold you up”), the devil entices him with the allurement of power: “all these kingdoms, I will give you if you but fall down and worship me.” What is most interesting about this final temptation is that the devil couldn’t offer all of the kingdoms of the world to Jesus unless he, the devil, owned them. Indeed, in Luke’s account, this is made explicit. Satan says, “I shall give to you all this power…for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish.” I don’t know a passage in any of the literature of the world that is as critical of political power as that one! All the kingdoms of the world belong to a fallen spiritual force.
Bishop Robert Barron, Vibrant Paradoxes
I added that italic emphasis. This socked me between the eyes when I read it. Of course, I know Jesus said that Satan is the prince of the world, but somehow this application of that idea completely escaped me. As well as the fact that, for it to be a temptation, Satan would have to be able to deliver. Because he owns them.

Once again, I see how paramount it is to carefully pick my way through current politics while keeping my eye on God's kingdom. No wonder there is no one party or plan that fully handles this world's problems well. I mean to say, I knew that already. But this reminds me of one of the root causes of the problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment