2023-02-26 | Matthew 4:1-11

Bruce Worthington
  • Assistant Professor Divinity School of Chung Chi College

It has always struck me to be a little bit weird, perhaps even a bit manipulative, for the Spirit to have led Jesus to be tempted in the Desert. Imagine if things went wrong and everything fell apart? How did the Devil know to be there? Was there a chat to set things up?  
If Satan can quote the Bible and seriously offer the “splendour” of the world (vs. 😎, I can’t help but think of the connection, made by Liberation theologians like Miguel De La Torre, between Satan and White Christianity. Like the Devil himself, White Christianity similarly offers its followers “the splendours of the world”: wealth, privilege, status, or what we now have come to know as “colonial power.” 
In today’s Gospel story, the Devil essentially offers Jesus the opportunity to become “white,” which is simply to participate in the splendours of whiteness with all its benefits. The temptation towards whiteness still exists and is a significant one today in the context of Hong Kong Christianity. Because Hong Kong has yet to formalize its own distinct theology, its natural default is to the language of white theology, its universities, philosophers, and its privileges.  
As Jesus rejected the Devil’s colonizing offer of splendour, riches, and power, Lent is a time to strongly consider your own relationship to these things, which may at times require you to reject the temptation towards whiteness, and instead “follow the Lord your God” (vs. 10), developing a Hong Kong theology apart from the false splendour of white Christianity and yes, even the Devil.