Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Matthew 4:1-11 & 20:25-28
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
In the classic Lord of the Rings novels by JRR Tolkien, we witness a key character named Golem who is tempted and eventually overtaken by the power of a magic ring. What began as curiosity became an obsession, and over the course of years Golem loses nearly every aspect of his original being as he is overcome with greed, malice, and an addiction to power.
The beauty of novels is that they can take the simple things we experience and expand those experiences into fantastical stories. Though Golem’s experience is extreme, it points to a simple truth that we all can relate to in our lives: the corruption of the heart in pursuit of power.
Many stories have been written about the process of a good person being seduced and depraved by power, but standing in contrast to this familiar narrative is the story of Jesus. Jesus, the son of God, untarnished in every way, begins his ministry by fasting and praying in the desert where is He confronted by Satan. What is Satan’s ploy to dissuade Jesus? By offering Him power on earth.
Satan offered to make Jesus ruler over all the kingdoms of the world, if only He would worship Satan. Jesus resisted and rebuked Satan, and by doing so set the course of His ministry on earth as one of servant leadership. Sadly, the Church would be tempted for many more centuries with the same offers of worldly power. At times it has resisted and set herself apart from the kingdoms of this world, but often the Church and the kingdoms of men have become so interwind that she becomes nearly unrecognizable.
- When you read about the temptation of Christ, what stands out to you? How is the Kingdom of God different from the kingdoms of men?
- As we begin this journey through Church history, reflect on your experiences with the Church. In what ways has the Church stood apart of the kingdoms of this world? In what ways has the Church compromised and become similar to this world?
- In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus says, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant…”. How have you experienced servant leadership in your life? What impact did that experience have on the way you see God and His Kingdom? How can you become a servant leader this week?
Is a new revival or reformation happening today? Often when we experience disruption or change we might believe we have lost our way. What if God is bringing change for His glory in the time in history? Often the soil must be broken and turned over before new seeds can be planted for a future harvest.
Spend some time praying for one another. Pray for strength to resist the temptation of power in our own lives and for the same strength for collective Church. Pray for the body of Christ to stand gloriously set apart from the kingdoms of this world.