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. However, the nature of his realm was radically different than the governments and ideologies of the existing world order, and more than once, Jesus refused political power, especially when offered by Satan.

The Devil promised Jesus of Nazareth control over “all the kingdoms of the world.” To gain such power, Satan required him to acknowledge overlordship. The cost of political power was submission to his satanic agenda. Moreover, according to the Devil, the kingdoms of this age “have been delivered to me and I give them to whomever I will.”

Uphill Climb - Photo by NEOM on Unsplash
[Photo by NEOM on Unsplash]

Jesus did not dispute Satan’s “right” to dispense political power, but he refused it all the same. Instead, he submitted to the path of the 
Suffering Servant of the LORD - (Matthew 4:8-11, Luke 4:5-7, Isaiah 53:1-12).

Since that event in the wilderness, 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 calling that Jesus did.

Nevertheless, 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 as 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. This turned many minds against him- (Luke 4:13, John 6:15).

Jesus of Nazareth 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.”

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 - (Romans 5:10, Philippians 2:6-11).

The choice before us is between the cruciform and rough pathway trod by him or the self-serving and smooth superhighway offered by Satan. Jesus declared that when he was “raised” on the Cross he would “draw all men to me,” not by seizing Caesar’s throne, clever propaganda, military force, or impressive displays of power.

Jesus called his disciples to “deny themselves, take up the cross,” and follow him on the cruciform road - the only one that leads to the Kingdom of God and the holy city, “New Jerusalem.” All who refuse to do so are “unworthy” of him and unfit for citizenship in his Kingdom.



RELATED POSTS:
  • Embracing the Cross - (To be the Messiah of Israel meant suffering and death for others, and Jesus summoned his disciples to follow that same path – Mark 8:31)
  • On the Way - (On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus explained what it meant to be the Messiah and the destiny of the suffering Son of Man - Mark 8:27-38)
  • Mind of Christ - (The submission of Jesus to an unjust death becomes the paradigm for the love and service to others that disciples are summoned to manifest)

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