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The Personality of Jesus (Luke 4)

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The Wilderness Temptation Of Jesus

Jesus In The Wilderness: A Study In The Language And Nature Of Temptation

The Wilderness Temptations: A Window Into The Mind Of Jesus

Angels and the Wilderness Temptations Of Jesus




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Luke 4

The wilderness temptations
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted by the devil for forty days. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were completed, he was hungry.
   3 And the devil said to him: If you are the Son of God, command these stones that they become bread. 4 And Jesus answered him: It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.
   5 And he led him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to him: To you will I give all this authority and the glory of them. For it has been delivered to me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it. 7 Therefore, if you will worship me, it shall all be yours. 8 And Jesus answered and said to him: It is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
   9 And he led him to Jerusalem, set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him: If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: He shall give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you, 11 and on their hands they shall carry you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. 12 And Jesus answering said to him: It is said, you shall not test the Lord your God.
   13 And when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

Jesus in Nazareth
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and the news about him went out throughout all the region. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
   16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17 And there was delivered to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written: 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that are bruised, 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
   21 And he began to say to them: Today has this scripture been fulfilled in your hearing. 22 And all bore him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said: Is this not Joseph's son? 23 And he said to them: Doubtless you will say to me this proverb: Physician, heal yourself. Whatever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in your hometown. 24 And he said: Truly I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own hometown. 25 But of a truth I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land. 26 And to none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman that was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them were cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. 28 And they were all filled with anger in the synagogue as they heard these things. 29 And they rose up and threw him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. 30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way.

Jesus in Capernaum
   31 And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath day. 32 And they were astonished at his teaching; for his word was with authority. 33 And in the synagogue, there was a man that had a spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice: 34 Leave us alone! What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are! The Holy One of God! 35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying: Hold your peace and come out of him. And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no hurt. 36 And amazement came upon all, and they spoke together, one with another, saying: What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits and they come out. 37 And there went a rumour concerning him into every place of the region round about. 38 And he rose up from the synagogue and entered into the house of Simon. And Simon's wife's mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of him concerning her. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever; and it left her, and immediately she rose up and served them.
   40 And when the sun was setting, they brought to him all that were sick with various diseases; and he laid his hands on everyone of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out from many, crying out and saying: You are the Son of God! But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
   42 Now when it was day, he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought him and came to him, and tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them: I must preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for this is why I was sent. 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.



4:1-8 See comments on Matthew 4 and notes about Satan at the end.

4:3 Jesus answers the three temptations with three quotations from Deuteronomy. Those quotations are close to each other- twice from Deuteronomy 6 and once from Deuteronomy 8. These passages were in the context of Israel being 40 years in the wilderness, tested by God and tempted to be disobedient to Him. Jesus perceived the similarities with Himself- 40 days in the wilderness, tested by God and tempted, led by “the Spirit” (v. 1) as Israel were led by an Angel. We too should look for the similarities between our positions and those of others we read about in the Bible. The more we are familiar with the Bible text, the more easily in times of crisis will we find strength and find warning and encouragement directly for us. This is why we should persevere in Bible reading even if at the time we don’t understand or feel any immediate benefit. Slowly, God’s word becomes a living word, speaking directly to us.

4:15 The popularity of Jesus was huge. But He knew what people were like (Jn. 2:25) and so He avoided the pitfalls of success and popularity. We should handle any popularity or success in the way He did. His focus was upon glorifying God, getting that job done, and whether we stand with our backs to the world or have adulation of men, that must be our focus.

4:23 Heal yourself- Did Jesus have some physical weakness, illness or deformity? He had “no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2).

4:27 There were no lepers healed in Israel in Elisha’s time. The young Israelite made who told her Syrian mistress that Elisha was able to cure leprosy was therefore speaking in faith, the faith which believes what hasn’t yet been seen (2 Kings 5:3).

4:30 Jesus was therefore able to escape persecution and personal harm. He could’ve escaped from the cross. This was His agony in Gethsemane. But He resisted that temptation and willingly gave His life for us.

4:35 Jesus rebuked a demon and then rebuked a fever (v. 39). ‘Demons’ was the language of the day for illnesses.