First Sunday in Lent – Series C
The first Sunday of Lent is always given over to the triumph of Christ in the temptation. But only Luke notes the diabolical offer of authority over the kingdoms of the earth which we see here. Mark is very brief, merely telling us that Jesus was tempted. Matthew has the Devil offer him the splendor of the kingdoms, but Luke has an offer of their authority. He was offering Jesus to be the emperor of the world, to have the power, to seize control from the Roman emperor Tiberias who ruled in that day and to expand the imperium to include the whole world. Think of the health care reform Jesus would have enacted, or the anti-poverty programs, etc. Jesus would have been the best emperor ever. But it would not have saved the world. Such authority, as necessary as it is for the curbing of sinners, the maintenance of a civil society, etc., cannot save the world. Jesus has a wholly other authority.