So last week as my wife was coming home from work, driving down our street, she turned on her turn signal and slowed to make the turn into our driveway. The car behind her laid into his horn, obviously being deeply inconvenienced by her daring to try and enter her own domicile on his time. The word that came to mind as she described it to me was “tyrannical.” The driver was clearly a tyrant for only tyrants dare be so bold in their assertion of personal priviledge.
That really does seem to encapsulate life right now – we all think of ourselves as little kings and queens, fully in charge of our lives and all that surrounds us. So often we maintain this illusion by acting tyrannically. We throw fits, we start social media crusades, we carry on like children until it is easier for people to give us what we want than it is to fight us about it.
The season of Lent, the season we are in now, is meant to reflect the period that Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for ministry. During His retreat Jesus was sorely tempted. There is one temptation in particular that I find most fitting for our current age.
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”
First of all, I find it fascinating that the devil can offer Jesus kingship over that which He already ruled. But then that only reveals that the devil suffers from the same tyrannical delusion we seem to. But even more interesting is that Jesus turned him down. Seriously, what’s the point of denying what you already are?
The answer to that question lies in the means by which the devil would grant Him the kingship as compared to the means by which Jesus chose to exercise His kingship. You see, the devil was offering to make Jesus a tyrant, whereas Jesus is a servant king. There is a deep lesson in that for those of us that exercise our own small tyrannies.
Last year the host and Arnn spent several Hillsdale hours examining C.S. Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength.” That book is the third in a trilogy. That book certainly is the most directly applicable to our current state of affairs, but I have always found the second book in the trilogy “Perelandra” far more interesting. In that second book we visit a planet in which human life has just come to be and is not yet spoiled. We see that planet’s Adam and Eve (Tinidril is the name of Eve character) confront temptation just as ours did, with one key difference, they do not succumb.
At the end Tinidril and her mate are installed as the literal and actual King and Queen of Perlandra – now a utopian paradise – they have authority over the entire planet. Yet the creatures of the planet apporoach tem as if they were close kin. There is no hint of tyranny – the king and queen are there to serve. They are much like Jesus when He sets aside temptation.
You see, the sad fact of the matter is we really are the kings and queens of this earth. But we have succumbed to temptation and hence we act like tyrants.
With the help of Christ we can throw off our tyrannical nature and become the kings and queens we are supposed to be. That such will come to be is my prayer for this Sunday in Lent.