Luke 4, 5 – 8
Today's contributor is Nicholas King, a Jesuit priest, scholar and author who teaches the New Testament at Oxford University. For the Bible passages, he used NRSV for the Old Testment and his own translation for the New Testament readings. To read passages from the King James Version, click here.
Something to read
And leading him up, he showed him all the kingdoms of the world, in a moment of time. And the Slanderer said to him, 'I'm going to give you all this authority, and their glory, because it has been handed over to me; and I give to anyone I want. So, you, if you worship before me, it will all be yours.' And Jesus answered and said to him, 'It is written, "The Lord your God shall you worship; and you are to serve him alone".'
Something to think about
Today's temptation to Jesus (and to us) is to get God's work done in a hurry, taking a fatal short cut. Jesus' task (and ours) is to build the Kingdom of God; and here he is tempted to get it over and done with by bowing down to something that is not God.
Like Jesus, we are also tempted to get it done the easy way; but anything which we "worship before" is in fact our god, whether it is money or power or pleasure.
We put it at the centre of our lives, and then find that we are holding the tiger by the tail, so that instead of setting us free to achieve all that we long to bring about, it has enslaved us, and we find that we can't let go.
So Jesus reminds himself and us that what belongs at the centre of our lives, and without which our lives will certainly go out of kilter, is the One True God: "The Lord your God shall you worship; and you are to serve God alone." That really is a more healthy way to live.
Something to do
It may be that you are dimly aware of something in your life today that is off-balance, that makes a slave, instead of a free person, of you. Are there short cuts that you have taken in order to bring about a good end?
If so, have the short cuts proved successful? Or have you used immoral means to bring about the Kingdom of God, and said, "But my intentions are honourable?" Do you think that you were being honest with yourself? Is there anything that you can change, today?
Something to pray
God our Lord, we are your sons and daughters; sometimes we think that we know better than you how the universe should be run. Give us the strength, today, to labour with you in building your Kingdom, in the way that you desire, not the way that we have chosen. Give us the grace to worship you alone. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.