Finally, the devil took Jesus up on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the earth and their glory. 9 The devil said to him, “All of this shall be yours, if you only bow down and worship me….”
That line that was used by Satan to turn Jesus from his mission, to be God’s redemption to mankind, God’s only Son in human form not be served, but to serve and offer himself as our lasting and eternal sacrifice. Satan tried to divert Jesus’ attention from his eternal destiny and instead offer him a temporal one – to set up his Kingdom on earth now and gain all the rewards that earthly glory would bring him. He gave him an offer in which to sell out.
The enemy of mankind has many names, one of which is ‘the tempter’ and this is seen played out in many different ways in the bible. If you have ever seen the movie The Matrix you may remember the scene where a secret meeting is set up between the ‘Agent’ (bad guy) and a member of the team of freedom fighters – ‘Cypher.’ In the scene it looks at though Cypher is going to betray his team for willfull ignorance about the fight he is currently in, and a call to be yet again plugged back into the matrix (along with certain perks and privelidges).
Speaking with Cypher the agent asks him in his classic poised drawl…“Do we have a deal… Mr. Regan?”, Cypher is musing upon his ‘deal with devil’ and cutting into his juicy steak whilst mulling over some good wine replies, “You know, I know this steak doesn’t exist, (he says looking at it hangs from his fork) I know that when I put it in my mouth the matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy… and delicious, after nine years you know what I realize? (puts steak in his mouth savoring its goodness) ignorance is bliss.”
If you know the story in detail Cypher knowingly tries to again swallow the blue pill (a metaphor for ignorance and subjugation to the system of the matrix – in essence to be enslaved once more) Even knowing that the fight for truth outside the Matrix was real and future freedom was possible, but he gave up. He got ‘tired’, bitter and jaded and wanted to head back into the womb of his ignorance and be pampered with illusionary comforts.
This scenario reminds me of the beginning of the biblical passion story, where one of Jesus’ close disciples talks to the religious leaders and does his ‘deal with the devil’ and sells out his master.
“Judas Iscariot went to the chief priestand asked, “How much will you give me if I help you arrest Jesus?” They paid Judas thirty silver coins, and from then on he started looking for a good chance to betray Jesus.”
Judas sold out the king of kings for thirty silver coins! I’m guessing the devil would have paid much, much more for him to have him handed over but thirty lousy coins did he get. Judas realized his mistake once he knew the gravity of what he had done, he tried to buy him back but by then it was too late – the deed was done. But instead of true repentance Judas sunk into guilt and self-pity, he hung himself to try and rid himself of the guilt. But he had swallowed his own blue pill and its effects were in full effect and they ended with a noose around his neck by his own hand.
But Jesus knew how to talk back to the devil, he used the very words He gave to his prophets hundreds of years before in response to his current temptations. He used the word of God and told Satan what he could do with his offer. He set his face like flint and went onwards with his mission, knowing that his Father would vindicate him and Glorify him in the end without taking the blue pill of earthly riches and fading human glory.
“An offer you can’t refuse.”
The devil takes on many different guises but he is rarely a red skinned man with a goatee beard and pitchfork, he may very well be the best dressed man at the ball. Hair slicked back, smooth, deliberate with his words, offering you the one thing that hooks you in the most. So what is his offer to you? Power? Money? Sex? Self-pity to avoid the discomfort of personal responsibility?
Maybe even simply the subtly ‘good’ offer of a semi-subdued life with all the perks of western contemporary living but without the ‘drain’ or responsibility of making the world a better place or being beholden to a higher power than yourself who may require more from you than your own comfort and self-satisfaction.
The enemy knows our weakness, he knows our Achilles heel and will attack it not so much as a howling banshee in the night, but through subtle influence, through tempting offers, blurring the lines and oh so how it will appear appealing to us! Usually these come in times of intense struggle, heartache and pressure.
We may not swallow the pill whole, but ingest it in varying shades and degrees until it’s effects are eventually seen regardless, we grow cold, complacent, following meaningless trivialities and distractions eventually re-entering our matrix-type cocoons once more, empowering the false system of the evil one.
Cypher was deceived through his weakness-a desire for a luxurious and decadent life free from suffering. He wanted esteem, riches and all the perks that accompany this – even if it wasn’t real in the end, to him it was ‘real enough’. However, like Judas, his betrayal betrayed him and he in turn was killed just as he killed his own fellow crew members – he fell by his own sword.
So what will he offer you?... What is he offering you? Because rest assured it won’t be something you balk at, it will be lovely, subtle and just what you want!
Talk back to the Devil.
But once we recognize him behind his façade of shallow offers we don’t fight him, this will only wear us out. We do our best to merely stand on what God has said weather we feel their effects or not, we stand on truth and in reality. We do as Jesus did and boldly say,
“It is written! ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Taking something that we gain our life force from (if it anything less than God) is merely an idol. It is an illusionary blue pill and in the stark, bright light of reality and truth such illusion will always vanish. The life and actions offered therein will be rendered meaningless, your soul will be found empty, you will be void of truth and you will indeed be robbed of every last penny.
For all of which you gained and held dear will vanish in a heartbeat and all that will be left will be the ache and subsequent rage for them to again return, this is what is called the weeping and gnashing of teeth in scripture (Matt 13:42). So whichever façade the offer takes, whatever subtle suggestion comes forward at the most ‘convenient time’, whatever appears at a moment of pain and asks you to numb yourself to the harsh realities of life, for God’s sake take the red pill, stay in truth and stay awake!
Tim Everton is from South Australia, is a youth worker by trade and runs his own small business making miniature things. In his off-time he enjoys making more miniature things, playing board games hanging out at the beach and seeking out the next best cafe latte.
Tim Everton’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-everton.html