September 12 - Luke 4:1-13

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Luke 4:1-13 – The Temptation of Jesus

Luke’s order of the second and third temptations is different than that found in Matthew’s gospel. More than likely, Luke has chosen this order because it ends the story in the temple in Jerusalem, which is where Jesus’ completes his task on earth.

The first of the temptations takes place in the wilderness.  Jesus follows the path that John took out of the wilderness, traveling in the opposite direction. John heard the voice of God while Jesus experiences a conversation with the devil. At the lowest point of a man’s stamina, he faces temptation. He is hungry.

Just as the Israelites faced a test by God in the desert, (Deuteronomy 8), Jesus passed the test. God sent manna to a hungry people and in response to the devil’s temptation, Jesus quotes directly from Deuteronomy 8:3 – man does not live by bread alone.  He does not need a miracle, he trusts God completely. He proves himself to be the exceptional Israelite, a man who needs nothing more than God.

When the devil leads him to a high place, words that we know from the Old Testament were always locations of Baal worship, he offers Jesus authority and splendor of all the kingdoms of the world, if only Jesus will bow down and worship him.

Jesus doesn't even bother to contradict the devil’s claim that he has control of these kingdoms and has the authority to offer that to anyone, he has need of nothing. His strength and power come from God alone and it is to the Lord our God that he will offer worship and service.

From this point, the two go to Jerusalem, to the highest pinnacle of the temple, and then quotes scripture at Jesus, attempting to establish a connection. But the devil doesn't understand the scripture he is quoting, it is merely words from his mouth. Jesus understands that tempting God is foolish and responds in kind.

The message that each of us can learn from this is that the devil is very powerful, but can not force any of us to do anything. When he failed with Jesus, he left.