“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” (Matthew 4)
In “School Reunion” (series 2/3) Tennant’s Doctor Who certainly meets a devil of a temptation! Fortunately though he can rely on the help of old faithful companions, Sarah Jane Smith and K-9. The Doctor is posing as a teacher, Mr Smith, in a school inhabited by a race of shape-shifting, bat-like alien creatures, the Krillitane. Their leader, Headmaster Finch, is using the school children to help crack the ‘Skasis Paradigm’, an equation known as the “God Maker” which allows the one who possesses it to control the building blocks of the universe. Finch has accelerated the learning power of the children through the special oil used to cook the hot chips in the school canteen. (If only chips really had such benefits!) And it is with the power of this paradigm that Finch lures the Doctor to join him. Yet he offers him more than mere power – he offers him the avoidance of pain and parting and sorrow. (Which of these is more attractive to you?)
SARAH: But why use children? Can’t they use adults?
DOCTOR: No, it’s got to be children. The God maker needs imagination to crack it. They’re not just using the children’s brains to break the code, they’re using their souls. (The Headmaster has entered the room.)
FINCH: Let the lesson begin. Think of it, Doctor. With the Paradigm solved, reality becomes clay in our hands. We can shape the universe and improve it.
DOCTOR: Oh yeah? The whole of creation with the face of Mister Finch? Call me old fashioned, but I like things as they are.
FINCH: You act like such a radical, and yet all you want to do is preserve the old order? Think of the changes that could be made if this power was used for good.
DOCTOR: What, by someone like you?
FINCH: No, someone like you. The Paradigm gives us power, but you could give us wisdom. Become a God at my side. Imagine what you could do. Think of the civilisations you could save. Perganon, Assinta. Your own people, Doctor, standing tall. The Time Lords reborn.
SARAH: Doctor, don’t listen to him.
FINCH: And you could be with him throughout eternity. Young, fresh, never wither, never age, never die. Their lives are so fleeting. So many goodbyes. How lonely you must be, Doctor. Join us.
DOCTOR: I could save everyone.
DOCTOR: I could stop the war.
SARAH: No. The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it’s a world, or a relationship, everything has its time. And everything ends. (The Doctor throws a chair at the big screen, smashing it.)
The Doctor turns down this offer of ultimate power. Though he could save everyone and beat the mortality which takes away his friends he knows that Sarah-Jane is right. Everything ends, pain and loss are part of life and ultimately a higher being has sovereign control of the universe.
I’m sure you can see the parallels here with our One True Time Lord, Jesus. He faced a very similar temptation at the start of his earthly ministry. His choice was to follow the will of His Father, and follow the road to His death on the Cross for our sake, or accept what the devil had on offer….power over the splendour of creation!
Yet for the devil there is a sad irony: the road to the cross took Christ to an ultimate seat of power that cannot be shaken, ruling over not just this world but over all the unseen realms and powers. As Ephesians 1 says, it was God’s plan to bring all things toegther in unity under the rule of Christ:
“With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. . .
(God) seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
It is no wonder that we can trust Christ with every part of our lives, our hearts, our days, our past and future – because he has ultimate control. Nothing is beyond his power. Nothing! And he is completely good.