It’s not hell on Earth

How one man refused to take a lucrative seat of tremendous power, and avoided hell on Earth

We know that corruption — from a small roadside bribe to a Guptagate-sized scandal — destroys the good government and systems that we rely on. They subvert the democratic process, the necessary organs of state to serve the nation, the entrusting of right power to approved authorities. Every day these threaten to undermine something we need. But never were we in any greater danger than back in the first century CE.

“Burning Temptation” (photo via https://unsplash.com/@oliviermiche)

It happened that a man was offered an opportunity to bypass all qualifications, efforts, proving, and cost, to skip straight to a guaranteed position, second only to arguably the most powerful created being in the universe. He was faced with choice to abandon the path he was on — a path which would ultimately and honestly earn him a place which far exceeded the one held by this “head-hunter”. How difficult that battleground was, we can’t be sure. All we know is that he was indeed tempted to cross the floor, to defect from his good company, and receive the wealth of every kingdom on Earth.

If he had been corrupted, and succumbed to this global capture, what would the world be like? The worst horrors and nightmares of the most creative authors could not be added together to express the hell that would have reigned.

But we have no fear of that.

Because when he was faced with this choice, he called Scripture to mind and quoted it to his tempter. Jesus refused to worship the Devil. In full knowledge of the costs of his obedience, he chose to obey and serve God only.

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.’” (Luke 4:5–8 ESV)
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Heb 1:3–4 ESV)