I just finished reading, “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells. The story is about a group of Martians that are tired of living underground, because their planet is currently inhospitable. The Martians travel to Earth and attempt to take control of our planet. They destroy buildings, transportation hubs, and even the military is decimated.
While I was reading the book, there were two sections that really got me thinking and stuck with me.
At one point, the main character was describing a man. He was a man of means, wearing a tailored suit, and he had a gold watch chain. He was also a man of power and used to being respected by other people.
Unfortunately, the man was caught by the Martians and used for food. That made me think about how people tend to strive for money and power. They will spend their entire lives trying to achieve more wealth; however, there are times when money and power will not save you. Nobody is immune to tragedy.
Toward the end of the book, the Martians were dying and the main character was thinking about the animals on Earth. He said, “Surely, if we have learnt nothing else, this war has taught us pity – pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion.”
I think this is a lesson that would benefit humanity, to have pity or empathy for the animals that we dominate. They may not have the same abilities as humans in reagards to higher thinking skills, but they do have emotions, they do feel grief, pain, and sorrow. They should be treated with respect and dignity.
All in all, I enjoyed reading the book and was surprised by how humans eventually won the war. If you want to know what saved humanity from the Martians, read the book. It will be worth your time.
In Matthew 20:26-28, Jesus was telling his disciples how to be great in His kingdom. Jesus defines greatness and leadership in a way that is contrary to what we normally see in the world.
According to Jesus, having power or privilege is not what makes you great. Being able to force others to obey you and serve you, does not make you great.
What makes a person great in the Kingdom of God? Jesus tells us that to be great, to be a leader in His Kingdom, we must be willing to serve. We must also have an attitude of humility.
It’s our willingness to humble ourselves and serve others that will make us great people and great leaders in this world and in the Kingdom of God.
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (ESV)
In this section of scripture we read about Jesus healing the paralytic and we also learn more about the mission of Jesus.
Jesus has the authority to forgive sins. That means Jesus has the ability and the power to forgive our sins, to cancel out debts, and to pardon us for our transgressions. We are released from the prison of sin. We are set free by Jesus.
Jesus and his disciples were in a boat. A massive storm started to toss the boat about and the waves were crashing onto the boat.
The disciples were terrified and frantic. They called out to Jesus, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” (ESV)
Jesus asked the disciples, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” (ESV)
Jesus calmed the storm and the disciples were amazed by his power. In Mark 4:39, we learn Jesus calmed the storm and said, “Peace! Be Still!” (ESV)
I wonder if those words were said not just to calm the storm, but also to calm the disciples. Whenever you feel like you are about to drown and anxiety is overwhelming you, remember the words of Jesus, “Peace! Be Still!” (ESV)
While in Capernaum, a centurion approached Jesus. He asked Jesus to heal his servant. The servant was paralyzed and suffering horribly.
Jesus agreed to heal the centurion’s servant and offered to go to his home. However, the centurion told Jesus he was not worthy of having Jesus in his house. Instead, he asked Jesus to just say the word and his servant would be healed.
Jesus was impressed by the centurion’s faith and responded, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.” (ESV)
Jesus then told the centurion his servant was healed.
Throughout the gospels, people ask Jesus to touch them to be healed. They want to see Jesus do something to help them believe in his healing power. However, the centurion was different. He didn’t need to see Jesus do anything. He simply trusted in the word of Jesus.
Jesus went into the wilderness to spend forty days fasting. The devil waited until Jesus was at the end of his fast before trying to tempt Jesus. The devil wanted to take advantage of the weakened and weary state of Jesus.
By studying the temptation of Jesus, we can learn how to resist temptation in our own lives.
The first temptation:
The devil told Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” (ESV)
Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (ESV)
The devil appealed to the fleshly desires of Jesus and tried to get him to break the fast by turning stones into bread. The devil also tried to illicit a prideful spirit within Jesus, by saying, “If you are the Son of God.”
Jesus was able to resist temptation and used scripture as his strength and reasoning.
The second temptation:
For the second temptation, “the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”” (ESV)
The devil continued to question Jesus about his divinity. He also used scripture to tempt Jesus. However, Jesus combated the temptation by quoting scripture back to the devil, “it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” (ESV)
If we are to resist temptation and stand firm in our faith, then studying the bible is essential. How can we proclaim to believe something if we don’t know what it teaches? How can we stand up against false teachings, if we don’t know the truth within the scriptures?
The third temptation:
The devil tried to tempt Jesus one more time, “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.'” (ESV)
Jesus refused and told the devil, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” (ESV)
For the finial temptation, the devil promised to give Jesus earthly power and wealth. Once again, Jesus resisted temptation and rejected the offer.
The temptation of riches, fame, and power is a hard one for most people. All through out history, mankind (as individuals and as nations) have committed horrible acts to claim power over others or take riches from them.
We also have a tendency to place power and wealth as the priority of our lives. People will ignore family obligations to make more money, only to find their family is gone when they finally reach their goals.
Money is used to justify treating employees badly or cheating customers. The love of money can lead us into disastrous situations.
To resist such a powerful temptation, we need to have our priorities right. We should seek to worship and serve God, and not power or wealth.