Power. It undoes us. And like a drug, once hooked we crave for more.
Whether it is the power of knowledge, of social status, of influence or of wealth, once we have it, we feel naked without it. So our fist grips tighter around it, and our reach extends wider for more, more, more, more. And we tell ourselves that we’ll use our power for good. That if we have more wealth, more influence we’ll use it to build a better world. To force the world to conform to our view of ‘better’.
What a brilliant idea! Now why didn’t God think of that Himself?
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.” Matthew 4:8-9
The Accuser, in knowing he has failed in his first two attempts to throw Jesus off course, is about to use Jesus’ vocation as the saviour and rightful ruler of the world as his last ditch attempt to topple Christ’s resolve. The account in Luke adds an extra layer to this story…
“The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Luke 4:5-7
‘It has been given to me’ he says. By whom? Not by God. But by humankind, humankind’s ‘free will’ enslaving itself to the dark. Satan, the Accuser, the father of lies taunts and says that he has dominion, has power, has authority on earth. And he offers it to Jesus the way he took it in the first place, through partial truth and deception.
There have always been, and always will be strings attached to the Accuser’s generous offers, hidden fine-print defining the terms of enslavement. He never gives the full picture and only deals in twisted truths. Behind every promise he makes lie the clinking of chains and the shackles of bondage.