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“Don’t you know who I am?”

Again, the devil took him 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.” Then Jesus said to him, “   Matthew 4: 8-10      [AD 30]

 

Imagine this advertisement in the Jersey Evening Post under “Business Opportunities”: “Kingship of England and Lordship of Ireland available – complete with their glory - Contact 07797 666 666.”

 

Then imagine we’re in August 1485....... Two men (in particular) see the advertisement. One is Richard III the reigning King of England and Lord of Ireland for the past two years – he’s “gutted”; the other is Henry Tudor – he “goes for it”. But it’s costly – it’s not a “gift” – there’s an “if” - see bold above.

 

Richard III was killed at Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485. Shakespeare provides his last words; “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.” That was the closing value of the Kingship of England and Lordship of Ireland in 1485 – one horse. Because the horse might save him from death.

 

What about Henry Tudor who also answered the JEP advert? On 22 August 1485 the Business Opportunity was his. He reigned as King Henry VII. But he also died – this time on 15 April 1509.

 

King Henry VII had a friend in Jersey who also wanted a “kingdom” of his own. Apparently they met in October 1483, less than two years before the battle of Bosworth Field. His name was Clement Le Hardy, he was a Jurat and, despite an edict of Richard III, Clement sheltered Henry Tudor in his Jersey home in October that year.

 

Immediately on becoming King, Henry Tudor appointed Clement Le Hardy as Bailiff of Jersey. Soon he was also Lieutenant Governor as well. Clearly Clement had seized the Business Opportunity and now had (as it were) two “kingdoms”. Did he also have “their glory”? He thought so. During a dispute at St Ouen’s Manor he is recorded as saying “Don’t you know who I am? Am I not the Lieutenant Governor and Bailiff of Jersey?” He was - but for only nine years. He died in 1494.

 

These “Business Opportunities” are very tempting, aren’t they? It’s not only the “kingdoms”, the wealth, the authority, the superiority; it’s also “their glory”.

 

Think more deeply about the words in bold above. In exchange for two things – “the kingdoms of this world” and “their glory” – the devil (Greek “diabolou” – an adjective meaning “over turner”) asks one thing only. Jesus, the man Jesus, is to “fall down and worship me”.

 

What will Jesus do? Will his response to this Business Opportunity help us to see – to perceive – where all other human beings have gone wrong?

 

Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ”

 

1.     Jesus now names him as “Satan”. That word’s meaning at the time when Jesus used it was abundantly clear. It simply meant “adversary”. This temptation to kingdoms and glory – to superiority over others - is extremely adverse to the welfare of those who succumb to it.

2.     Worship is for God alone. When we pursue kingdoms and glory – or even the minor superiority sought and obtained by Clement Le Hardy – we are worshipping the ME.

3.     The only one whom we are to “serve” is “the Lord your God”. The word Matthew used for “serve” is that used for the service given by an employee to an employer. Who do we think we are? Especially when we say, “Don’t you know who I am?”

 

To devote oneself to superiority over others – and to the glory that goes with it – is to be (in its worst sense) SELF-employed, SELF-serving.

 

The outcome? The adversary is having his way with us all. Such service ends in death. Self-service eliminates us all. It did so for King Richard II, King Henry VII and Clement Le Hardy.

 

It even did so for Clement Le Hardy’s illustrious grandson – Thomas Hardy (of Tess of the d’Urbervilles fame). No one knows him now. He didn’t outlive his fame.  
 
‘Fame is a fickle food/ Upon a shifting plate.' (Emily E Dickinson, American poet, 1830-1886).
 
‘Only those who do not desire power are fit to hold it.' (Plato, Classical Greek philosopher, BC 424-328)
 
Richard Syvret

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