He chose servanthood
Matthew 4: 1-11 (NIVUK)
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’
4 Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the temple. 6 ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written:
‘“He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”’
7 Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 9 ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’
10 Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”’
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
In the inhospitable quiet of the desert, Jesus is hot and hungry. He has submitted himself to the constraints of deprivation of his body’s needs. He wrestles with the tension between the fullness of his humanity and the fullness of his divinity. In these days after his baptism, when he publicly received the full approval of God the Father, the whispering voice comes to him to claim the benefits of being God. As the one who was co-creator, he struggles with thoughts of playing with and reversing the laws of nature, even gravity itself. He contends with the temptation to tear himself away from the true community of the Trinity and grasp for himself the power that is well within his reach.
But he chose servanthood.
The temptations for us towards wielding power are so subtle and numerous in the course of each day. The way we spend our money and our time, how we use our words, how we exercise our vote, how we interact with the environment all involve choices to abuse our power or to adopt the way of servanthood. If we claim to follow Jesus, the latter can be our only choice as we seek the way of the one “who did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the nature of a servant…”
God, help us to recognise the allure of flexing power.
Cultivate in us the quiet contentment of servant hearts.
The Transforming Quiet: Every day this week spend 5 minutes in silence. Take a moment to still yourself before God and rest. Don't feel any pressure to think about anything in particular. Don’t worry if you get distracted. After spending five minutes in silence you may feel like saying a prayer but it's up to you. Take the time to be in the silence before carrying on with the rest of your day.