Reflection March 16
And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’”
There's a Bob Dylan song called “You Gotta Serve Somebody,” and it's come to mind every time I've read this passage lately. Dylan sings:
You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin' in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody's mistress, may be somebody's heir
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody
At first, I found the lyrics a little simplistic. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is I who overcomplicate the reality that, in my moment by moment choices, I am ultimately either bowing down to the devil or the Lord. Like Peter, I so often do not set my mind on the “things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23), and this merits a good rebuking.
Even as I take time to reflect on my failure and idolatry, this passage in Luke offers so much hope. Because here we see that King Jesus did what Adam and Eve could not do; what Israel could not do; what I cannot seem to do. He perfectly trusted in and depended on God's steadfast love and faithfulness. And his sinless actions flowed out of that loving, holy communion with the Father.
It is here in Luke 4 that I see how my weakness and failures need not be cause for discouragement; for my shortcomings aren't the point afterall. The point is that Christ succeeded, and I am now in Christ. What's true of him is now true of me. He welcomes me to his table, and says, “Eat, drink. My victory is now your victory.”
As our Lenten journey takes us closer to the cross, may it also bring us more deeply to our knees before the only one who is worthy of all worship and praise.
Ann Victoria Kuenzle