The scene during Christ’s 40 days in the desert, when Satan offers him the kingdoms of the world in exchange for worship, used to baffle me. The world already belonged to God, so what did Satan think he really had to bargain with? God, and therefore Jesus, is already the King of Everything.
Except that he’s not.
Be assured, by the end of time “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” but in the right here and right now, not a single one has to.
That’s the price God paid—Christ paid—for my freedom. I can use my freedom to bend my knees to whomever or whatever I choose. The kingdoms of the world have not chosen Christ as their king. And if I’m not subject to Christ, I’m a patriot in the camp of the Enemy, no matter what name I call him. So when Satan offered Jesus the world, he offered Kingship without sacrifice. For the small shipping and handling fee of bowing his knee to Satan, Jesus could have had the world without going to the cross.
Jesus could also have the world by refusing any of us the right to refuse him. Obedience could be mandatory. But it isn’t.
Only total authority can fully relinquish its rights to all authority. Were anything actually more powerful than God, God could only give up as much as he has rights to. But he has rights to it all. And he gambled everything when he gave us the right to love him or leave him.
No one has sacrificed as much as God, through Jesus. He forgave us for our disobedience before we even knew we needed forgiveness.
If I accept his forgiveness, I also must accept his authority over me.
And he tells me I have to forgive.
By what kind of ignorant arrogance could I possibly refuse?
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[The] devil took [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
– Matthew 4:8-9
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With questions for personal meditation and space for journaling, this 40-day devotional series offers a deeper look at Christ's command that we forgive. For a personal pilgrimage, or as a resource for group Bible study,40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey invites seekers of forgiveness and healing to the path on which God longs to meet us all. $6.49 at Amazon.com. Find out more about 40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey.