Lent 14 : Temptation 3. Empire

The last of the posts looking at Jesus temptations.

1. Jesus rejects the power of self help.

2. Jesus rejects the power of religion.

3. Jesus rejects the power of the empire.

Jesus could become king of the world like the other king of kings. I’ve written briefly on the comparison between Nebuchadnezzar and Jesus. What is striking is how inhuman empires seem to be. The bible presents empire as anti-God. That is because an empire takes the place of God; a reality all too present in the way certain sections of America views itself and present in nationalism all over the world. Jesus soundly rejects this. He will not be ruler of the world like any other.

‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’

The piece below is three patriotic songs woven together. Everything seems fine. Then things go wrong. Saviours come. Things seem fine. Things go rotten again.

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5 thoughts on “Lent 14 : Temptation 3. Empire”

  1. Love it!

    I don’t think the idea of empire is inherently anti-God, though. Humanity is made in God’s image and commissioned to ‘go forth and multiply’, an idea that echoes but corrects humanity’s own imperial pretensions. It’s the abuse of empire, undergirded by nationalistic or ideological distortions so that one form of empire is dominant, that’s the problem.

    1. Probably I should have unpacked a bit more how I was talking of empire. But I think from Babel to Egypt, the formation of Israel’s monarchy, the OT prophets, Jesus’ ministry and the apocalyptic visions of John and Daniel there are very strong and consistent anti-empire statements being made.

      I think that the Genesis instruction to dominion is unpacked in the Gen 2 story where the man tends the garden and names animals which is a very different kind of order. Drink?

      1. I often drink.

        Oh, I don’t disagree with you on empire, really. The empires of biblical times really were naughty, weren’t they, and ripe for critiquing. It’s just the idea that the notion of empire is inherently corrupt that I disagree with. Scripture seems to redescribe God’s empire as the Kingdom of God.

  2. Hi Sunil,

    Empire sound track going wrong at around 2 mins transports me back to a recently endured school musical recital. I now realise that these so called scholastic musical events are a deliberate (yet subtle) conspiratorial advance against all that seeks to release us from the tyrannical grip of empire. I shall be better equipped to face this trial in the future.

    Gratefully

    Guy

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