There is but one Kingdom in all creation.

The God of creation is sovereign. Everything, even God’s Enemy, exists by his creative act. He sustains it all by his grace. Nothing occurs without his permission.

Freedom reigns in the spiritual dimension of creation. With freedom comes the opportunity for rebellion. God’s Enemy takes advantage of that freedom, turning it into license for rebellion.

The Instigator of Rebellion rules the hearts of those who have chosen to indulge self rather than seek God. To them he offers pleasure, power, and wealth. In return, he takes their freedom – their relationship with God.

Jesus knew the Evil One. He had met him face to face and resisted his temptations. He knew the Enemy was not flesh and blood. He knew the Enemy was the spiritual force that expresses itself in selfish desires, tempting thoughts, and evil impulses.

God’s people had not been so discerning. The necessities and ambitions of daily life required their attention. Rome must be placated. Deals must be struck. A place in the world must be secured. The “real world” leaves no room for other-worldly idealism.

God’s people did not surrender to the Enemy outright. Instead, they made shabby compromises. They made peace with the world in order to assure their security.

There can be no alliance, however, between God’s people and his enemy. God’s expectations are too high. The Enemy’s demands are too great. One swears allegiance to God or collaborates with the Enemy.

Jesus faced down the Tempter and remained faithful to God. He found a more difficult adversary, however, in God’s people who had made alliances with the Tempter.

Such were the Pharisees and Sadducees. They held themselves up as models of righteousness and spirituality. But they had long ago abandoned the idea of confronting the world’s rebellions against God’s ways. Instead, they had become ambassadors for ritual religion. They represented the interests of a social institution. And their institution – like the others – was ruled by the Prince of Rebellion.

Another compromiser was Judas Iscariot. Raised in the Temple religion. Fervent in his hope for the delivering Messiah. Willing to lay aside everything to follow the Anointed One from God.

Yet in his heart, he harbored reservations. He had ambitions for power and wealth. He wanted to avoid conflict that might diminish the influence of the Temple or the nation. Perhaps he saw himself as the “realistic” disciple.

It was not the scheming of the religious leaders that left Jesus in the power of the mob. Nor was it the cowardice of the other disciples. It was the double-mindedness of Judas, who thought he could serve Jesus by negotiating with his enemies.

Jesus was not betrayed by those who hated him. He was betrayed by one who loved him dearly but not whole-heartedly.

Jesus’ worst enemy was a friend with divided loyalties.

Read it for yourself!
Luke 4.1-30

Think about it!
In what ways do Christians’ divided loyalties betray Christ?

List some divided loyalties in your life.

Next installment
09 – God’s power

Copyright © 2007, Kainos Press. All rights reserved.