“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.”

Matthew 4:10

Friday, 26 February 2021

Matthew 4:1-11 

The third temptation is the temptation to power and control. Jesus is offered all the kingdoms of the earth if he would worship the devil. I think that we are quite partial to this temptation. We want power to create the world and our environment in our own image. We want control so we can make our world a safe and less vulnerable place for ourselves. Again, this is a self-centred temptation.

The power and control we crave are not to build up God’s Kingdom but our own. This desire for power and control is also our way of being independent of everyone. When we have power and control, we do not need anyone, possibly not even God. This is what Jesus is reacting against when he says that humankind should only worship and serve God. John Donne, a poet of the renaissance, wrote the following: “No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod of soil be washed away by the sea, Europe is less…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”

The antidote to an addiction to power and control is to recognize that we are all in relationship with each other and ultimately with God.

Lord God,

Help me today to place my life in your hands, and to trust in your loving care for me.


Fr Bruce Botha SJ

Fr Bruce Botha SJ was born in Durban, KZN. He received a diploma in education from the University of Natal and then taught physical science for 4 years at Scottburgh High School. He joined the Society of Jesus and did his noviciate in Cape Town. He then studied philosophy in London and theology in Berkeley, California. Between philosophy and theology, in the period of formation known as regency, he worked as the director of counselling for an HIV research centre. After ordination in 2006 he worked in Holy Trinity, Braamfontein and is currently the parish priest of St Martin de Porres, Orlando West and Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation for the Archdiocese of Johannesburg.

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