Friday, December 16, 2022

His Path

Jesus arrived in Galilee proclaiming the “Kingdom of God” – “Repent, for the kingdom is at hand.” In his ministry, the reign of God was invading the Earth, but his realm was of a different nature than the governments and ideologies of this fallen world, and on more than one occasion, Jesus refused political power, especially when it was offered by Satan.

The Devil offered Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world.” To attain absolute power, all that was needed was for him to “render homage” to the Tempter and acknowledge overlordship. The price of political power was submission to Satan, and according to him, the kingdoms of this age “have been delivered to me and I give them to whomever I will.”

Steep Trail - Photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash
[Photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash]

Jesus did
NOT dispute Satan’s “right” to dispense political power, but he refused it all the same, instead, submitting to the path of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh - (Matthew 4:8-11, Luke 4:5-7).

Since then, his disciples have faced the same test whenever the opportunity to obtain political power has presented itself. The choice is whether to succumb to the temptation to wield power over others or to choose the same self-denying path that Jesus did.

Yet how could God’s appointed king reign over the rebellious nations of the Earth without the military and economic might of the State? - (Psalm 2:6-8).

Rather than resorting to the political methods of this evil age, Jesus embraced the way of the Cross. In the “Kingdom of God,” victory is achieved through self-denial and sacrificial service for the Kingdom. Rather than dominating others through force, he “gave his life a ransom for many,” a real-world example for his disciples to emulate.

The temptation in the “wilderness” was not the end of Satan’s political intrigues. Following his rebuff, “the Devil departed from him until an opportune time.”

For example, after he miraculously fed a multitude, certain men plotted “to seize him and make him king.” However, he walked away at the point when the mob was determined to crown him, thereby turning many minds against him.

The Son of Man would not become the militaristic messiah bent on destroying Rome that so many of his contemporaries desired. The closer he came to his death, the more the fickle crowds rejected him. A “suffering servant” who laid down his life for friend and foe alike was the last thing they wanted - (Luke 4:13, John 6:15).

Contrary to his contemporaries, Jesus “took on the form of a slave” and became “obedient unto death, even death on a cross,” therefore, God bestowed on him “the name, which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

Cross Solitary - Photo by Jussara Romão on Unsplash
[Photo by Jussara Romão on Unsplash]

Moreover, his followers are summoned to adopt
the same mind that he demonstrated when he gave his life as a “ransom for many,” including the “enemies” of God - (Philippians 2:6-11).

The choice before his disciples is between the cruciform and rough pathway trod by him or the expedient and smooth superhighway offered by Satan. Jesus declared that when he was “lifted up” on the Cross he would “draw all men to me,” not by seizing Caesar’s throne.

Jesus of Nazareth is summoning all men and women to “deny themselves, take up the cross,” and follow him on the cruciform path, the only one that ends in the Kingdom of God. All who refuse to do so are “unworthy” of him and unfit for citizenship in his Father’s Kingdom.

  • Calvary or Rome? - (When offered by Satan, Jesus refused the political power of Rome. So, why do we continue to seek what he rejected?)
  • Which Kingdom? - (The message of Jesus centers on the “Kingdom of God,” a political system that bears little resemblance to the kingdoms of this world)
  • Mysteries Revealed - (God’s mysteries are unveiled in Jesus, especially in his Death and Resurrection. Are we looking for revelation in the right places?)