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punching above our weight

Again, the diabolos [Greek = the opposer, the opposition] took him [Jesus of Nazareth AD 30] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of this world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”         Matthew 4: 8, 9   


This is a frightening thing. Back in AD 30, right at the start of Jesus’ ministry (soon after he “went public” as it were) his biographers record this incident in bold above.


The frightening thing is that the diabolos seems to be able to give to Jesus “all the kingdoms of this world and their glory.” What do you make of that? Is it true? Can the diabolos deliver that?


From time to time it is said that Jersey needs to “punch above its weight”. This is especially so these days with regard to the European Union. Jersey needs a presence in Brussels. We need to make our voice heard in the latest corridors of power in which we find ourselves. We need to be alert to the possibility, even desirability, of going it alone – becoming autonomous.


Look again at the words in bold above. Note that Jesus is being offered the “kingdoms of this world.”  The original Greek for “kingdoms” has nothing about kings in it. The word is basileia. We get our English words “base” and “basis” from it and it means, in effect, “power base” or “realm.”


So Jersey’s desire to punch beyond its weight fits with having a better “power base” – with being a more powerful basileia........


When the diabolos offered to Jesus the “basileia of this world” he added “and their glory.”  Of that (re Jersey) there is little doubt. Jersey’s financial success, its economic success, is its glory, isn’t it?


Let’s return, then, to the earlier question. Was it a false offer to Jesus when the diabolos offered him “the kingdoms of this world and their glory” – if Jesus would fall down and worship the diabolos?


Jesus didn’t say, “That’s not yours to give.” Instead he replied, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”


So it seems that the contract consideration (“all the basileia of this world and their glory”) was indeed deliverable. Jesus could have the possession of all that – with all of humanity to worship him – as long as he himself, in turn, fell down and worshipped the diabolos.........


Any thoughts about how and why these fantastic deliverables could be within the power of the diabolos? Why could he “give” them to Jesus? Here is one possibility.


The very earliest of the archives of the Israeli nation, the chosen people of God to whom Jesus Christ came in AD 0, is the book of Genesis. That book is now the opening pages of the Christian Bible. Genesis describes the fall of Adam and Eve. The reason for their fall was their desire, both of them, to pursue their own interests above all else.


In that record, the serpent (the diabolos - but in Hebrew) achieved his ends. Adam and Eve served themselves. Things moved on from there and that basic principle remained. Their motivation (and ours) became: I will get what I can for me, never mind about God my Creator and the Creator of all good things around me. (And, straightaway, Adam and Eve began to fight.)


The diabolos turned human beings away from a family relationship with Almighty God towards go-it-alone achievement. And that eventually gave rise to kingdoms (still fighting each other) and to the glory of those kingdoms. The glory is whatever those in charge manage to bring into being for themselves using other human beings (through carrot or stick, playing to self-interest or force) throughout history.


So, yes, the diabolos was (in AD 30) in control. He had initiated the self-interest system. He could turn that system over to Jesus – if Jesus agreed one thing to fulfil the self-interest of diabolos. Jesus must fall down and worship the diabolos.


Is Jersey, seeking now to punch above its weight, doing just that for self-interested reasons, to achieve a glory demonstrated (in part) by its power base, its basileia?                  Who then is ultimately in charge? 

The greater the power the more dangerous the abuse.'  (Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, 1729 - 1797).
‘Only those who do not desire power are fit to hold it.’ (Plato, Classical Greek philosopher, BC 428-348)
Richard Syvret

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