LUKE 4


The character of Jesus was the character of the Deity

-a mirror in which was reflected the moral attributes peculiar to him, the Word, before manifestation in flesh.

Eureka

Bro Thomas' exposition of the wilderness temptation is merged into MATTHEW 4 and MARK 1


1 And Jesus being full of the holy spirit returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

...probably... on the precipitous bluffs standing in the midst of scorched and arid desolation to the south west of Jericho, overlooking the Dead Sea.

This is a little to the south of the spot where John's baptismal operations are believed to have been conducted, and would be a fitting locality for the purpose of Christ's spirit-enforced seclusion.

Jesus himself afterwards proclaimed it as a principle of divine action, that to whom much is given, of them much is required... Jesus, endowed with a special measure of the Father's favour, was sent forth to be put to a proof equal to the new greatness conferred upon him. He had been, during a thirty years' private life at Nazareth, subjected to the temptations common to men. Anointed now "with the Holy Spirit and with power," it was meet he should be subjected to a correspondingly increased test of faithfulness before going forth in the plenitude of this power to bear the Father's name before Israel. **




Led into the wilderness - Lev 16:7

There was both death and life in the two animals provided for the atonement of the holy place, and for the priesthood. This was to achieve the "reconciliation" (Heb. kaphar, covering) of the holy place, tabernacle and altar (v. 18) = all typical of the Lord Yahshua.

One of the goats was killed; the other was led into the wilderness, completing the law established by Yahweh. This was obviously understood by both John the Baptist and the Lord Yahshua. The Master submitted himself for baptism (symbolising death), and then immediately went into a place not inhabited, as the live scapegoat (teaching life beyond death).

www.logos.org.au



Why was he at such a time

"driven of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil"?

We may note here an illustration of the principle proclaimed by the Lord himself that to whom much is given, of them is much required.

Jesus endowed with an increased measure, yea, a measureless portion of the power and favour of the Father, had to be put to a proof equal to the new greatness conferred upon him.

For thirty years before, during a private life at Nazareth, he had been subject to the common temptations of men; now, anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, it was meet that he should be subjected to a corresponding test of faithfulness before going forth in the plentitude of this power to bear the Father's name before Israel.

From this we may deduce the lesson practically applicable to ourselves, that our trials and our temptations will be commensurate with our opportunities, powers, and privileges. The privileges of the apostles were greater than ours; so were their troubles. The privileges of some at this present time are greater than others living at the same time; so are their temptations and afflictions, and so also will be the measure of their stewardship.

Seasons 1.51.



2 Being 40 days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

40 days


...We are not informed in what manner the Lord was occupied during that time, or for what purpose he was so long a time secluded "with the wild beasts." We can scarcely escape the thought that it was for preparation. He had come straight from the home associations of Nazareth to John's baptism, and it would scarcely have been fitting that he should at once have passed from those associations into the wide public work which he had to accomplish before his death.

We all know the need for pause in changing from one occupation to another. How much more must he have felt it who stepped from a carpenter's bench to the position of a nation's instructor with the power of God upon him, and the work before him of "taking away the sin of the world."

Doubtless, he had a strength in himself that made such a transition easier for him than for ordinary men. Still, as "touched with the feeling of our infirmity," he must have felt the effects of village life sufficiently to make it needful that he should have a season of majestic and heart-enlarging solitude before entering upon his journey through the multitudes of Israel as the name-bearer of Yahweh.

The length of the period brings to mind many similar periods in the work of God. In years, we have Moses in exile forty years; Israel in the wilderness forty years; the land in frequent rest from affliction forty years; David's reign forty years; Solomon's reign forty years, &c., &c. In days, we have the flood descending forty days, Moses in Mount Sinai forty days, the spies searching the land, forty days; the Philistine defied Israel forty days; Elijah in the wilderness forty days; Jesus forty days with his disciples after his resurrection.

The recurrence of this number suggests that it enters into the plan upon which the purpose of God with the earth is being worked out. Forty days were at all events a sufficiently long time to prepare the heart of Jesus for the work upon which he was about to enter.


40 days tempted of diabolos


...Paul says "he was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. iv. 15). His temptation in the wilderness must, therefore, come into the category of our experiences...He was tempted in three particulars only, but it will be found that they comprise, in principle, all the temptations to which we can be exposed.

... tempted ... always by the incitements of the flesh, either operating spontaneously within, or presented to us in an objective manner by the suggestions of a person external to ourselves. The whole narrative of the temptation shows it was a temptation of the latter sort -- a temptation brought to bear by an external tempter -- a person...

The Bible devil, with many shapes, has a common derivation -- the insubordination of flesh and blood to divine law. This devil exists in his largest form in the present political constitution of things upon the earth. In detail, he presents himself in our own feelings, and in the persons of those who, on any pretext whatsoever, would draw us away from divine ways and thoughts. Who he specifically was in the case of Jesus, we are not informed, and do not know: but his generic identity is unquestionable.

It is an idle question that has been raised by theologians, whether Christ was "peccable" or "impeccable," in view of the fact that he was driven into the wilderness expressly for the purpose of being tempted of the devil. If he was not capable of sinning, he was not capable of being tempted.

...free volition of Christ, which was essential to the righteousness he came to fulfil, the very nature of which consists in the willing and witting subordination of the human will to the divine: ("not my will but thine be done"). **


"Being forty days tempted of the devil" Lk 4: 2

If his own mind was originating the temptation - why not so during the forty days! 'And WHEN the tempter CAME TO HIM, he SAID' (Matt 4:3)

Tempted of the devil (diabolos). He felt the full force of the cravings of the flesh

"Jesus groaned within himself, and was troubled." (Jhn 11:33)

The more we learn about temptation, the better equipped we are to combat it. In our reading today is the most important temptation that has ever occurred -- the typical temptation, the typical defense, the typical victory -- that of our great Forerunner and Example.

We must realize its reality -- the realness of its effort, its attraction and appeal. The more we can see the basic principles and significance of this temptation, the better we shall be able to cope with all temptation...these forty terrible days in the wilderness stand out with his crucifixion as the beginning and ending of his sufferings for men, two great crises of struggle and affliction... these forty terrible days in the wilderness stand out with his crucifixion as the beginning and ending of his sufferings for men, two great crises of struggle and affliction.

Jesus was a real man, subject to human weakness, and not a "coequal" part of an omnipotent divinity, as the doctrine of the "Trinity" teaches.

It is the very essence of the Truth that Jesus suffered under the burden of the same defiled nature, the same law of sin in his members, the same pulling of the flesh, as his brethren.

...Jesus, a mortal man, a man subject to all the natural weakness of mortal flesh, had been entrusted with the Spirit without measure. He had to be perfectly clear in his mind and in his determination as to the use of this power. Carrying the burden and responsibility of this awful power, he had to work out his salvation with fear and trembling. He had to see the picture with perfect clearness and not deviate from it to the right hand or the left.

He had to clearly discern the motions of sin and the deceptions of the diabolos in all their dark variety and confusion. He had to discern right down to the finest points the distinction between right and wrong -- thou shalt and thou shalt not.

We are, in all this, being taught the absolute necessity of as much knowledge and comprehension and discernment of the Word of God as we can possibly acquire within the limits of our capacity and opportunity. Jesus, the Head, required this discernment to the utmost degree for the work he had to do. *



It is more than probable that Christ's temptation, like that of Adam and all his brethren, included an external tempter and those internal feelings to which he could appeal. It certainly was not his flesh nature merely, because it is testified that when the temptation was ended, "the devil left him for a season," which his flesh nature did not do. Who the personal tempter was cannot be decided, because there is no testimony.

Seasons 1.51.



3. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.

First, there was the proposal that Jesus should illegitimately minister to his own need in the matter of food. The temptation on this point was made as keen as it was possible to be. It was not brought to bear when Christ had eaten. It would have been no temptation had the proposal not coincided with a strong desire in the direction proposed.

It came to him after a fast of forty days; when the Spirit having sustained him all that time with a supply of the vital energy ordinarily derived from the alimentive process, permitted him to hunger. As the proverb has it, "Hunger will break through stone walls."

Even lawlessness committed from the force of hunger is leniently viewed by men in general, as it is written,

"Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry."

The hunger of Christ, therefore, made the temptation a very strong one. But the temptation was made still stronger by the way the tempter put it:

"If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." **

This was as much as to say that the proof of his Messiahship required him to do what was proposed, and that if he failed to do it, he would give his tempter ground for doubting the proclamation that had just been made on the banks of the Jordan. Thus Christ's desire to testify the truth was cunningly brought to the help of his hunger to incline him to provide himself with food.

But the power to make bread at will, which Christ possessed, as afterwards shown by his feeding a multitude with five loaves and two fishes, was not given to him to provide his own natural wants, but to exhibit his Father's name to Israel.

Consequently, though he had the power which the tempter challenged, he was not at liberty to put it forth at the time and for the purpose proposed. It would have been sin in him to comply with the suggestion. He repelled the suggestion by a quotation from the Scriptures, which involved the assertion of those facts: [v4] **



This was as much as to say that the proof of his Messiahship required him to do what was proposed, and that if he failed to do it, he would give his tempter ground for doubting the proclamation that had just been made on the banks of the Jordan.

Thus Christ's desire to testify the truth was cunningly brought to the help of his hunger to incline him to provide himself with food. But the power to make bread at will, which Christ possessed, as afterwards shown by his feeding a multitude with five loaves and two fishes, was not given to him to provide his own natural wants, but to exhibit his Father's name to Israel. Consequently, though he had the power which the tempter challenged, he was not at liberty to put it forth at the time and for the purpose proposed.

...Bread, with the Word of God believed and obeyed, will be a stepping-stone to life that will never end (and it is in this sense that the Scriptures speak of men "living"). In fact, in this connection, bread becomes part of the pathway to eternal life, for without the bread first to develop and sustain the natural man, the Word of God could not have that ground to work on which leads to everlasting life (first, that which is natural; after-wards, that which is spiritual).

But bread with the Word of God disobeyed, is "bread alone," so far as life-giving power is concerned; for the Word of God confers no everlasting life on the disobedient. Consequently for a man to obtain bread on terms that involve his non-submission to the Word of God (and this was the tempter's proposal), is to take his stand on "bread alone."

... We may not wrongly use our powers or opportunities in the gaining of daily bread. It is customary in times of stress in this matter, to say, "We must live."

... It is a sufficient answer to say, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." If he chooses, for the sake of bread, to ignore obligations and duties presented by the word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, he chooses bread alone, and that, too, a bread that perishes, with which he too will perish. There are many cases and situations to which this will apply. Men of discernment and the fear of God will be able to make the application.

Seasons 1.51.




We must endeavour to fully realize the reality, the extremity, the intensity of the temptations -- not just as bald and obvious invitations to disobedience, but subtle, disguised enticements to deviate from the narrow path of faith and obedience and seek right ends by wrong means.

Jesus was the Son of God, of quick understanding, yet these temptations were real and powerful. What then of ourselves, in our own waste, howling wilderness filled with all the pitfalls of the dark deceptiveness of the mind of the flesh? What safety or hope is there in any course short of constant prayer and study?

Hunger was a constant, gnawing pressure upon him, and he knew he had at his fingertips unlimited power to satisfy it -- he possessed without measure the power that sustains the universe. Only a moment's effortless willing would have produced bread before him.

One small loaf of bread. Was he being wise or foolish, reasonable or unreasonable, to just do nothing for himself, and leave everything to God? Hadn't God given him the means of sustenance? Shouldn't he use it at least just to the extent of bare necessity -- just a little plain bread? Why all this fuss, this pantomime of self-denial about such a simple little thing?

So the temptation would be presented -- "You are being stubborn, you are being foolish, you are being 'holier-than-thou' about trifles. You need the bread to do God's work. The Spirit was given for this work. If you follow this course, you'll be hurting and restricting the very work you were given the Spirit to do." *



4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 

The power of this rejoinder may not at first sight be manifest; because, so far as appearance went, the proposal was not to discard the Word of God, but merely to provide the bread which the answer recognised as an element, though not alone, in the process of living. If we understood, however, that the proposed mode of providing it was wrong, the strength of it appears.

"Bread alone" will finally land a man in the grave, because bread cannot bestow immortality. Bread, with the Word of God believed and obeyed, will be a stepping-stone to life that will never end (and it is in this sense that the Scriptures speak of men "living").

In fact, in this connection, bread becomes part of the pathway to eternal life, for without the bread first to develope and sustain the natural man, the Word of God could not have the ground to work on which leads to everlasting life (first that which is natural, afterward that which is spiritual).

But bread, with the word of God disobeyed, is "bread alone," so far as life-giving power is concerned; for the word of God confers no everlasting life on the disobedient. Consequently for a man to obtain bread on terms that involve his non submission to the word of God (and this was the tempter's proposal) is to take his stand on "bread alone." To such a case, the Scripture quoted by Jesus has obviously a most forcible application. The rejoinder was unanswerable. **



We note that there was no prolonged or complicated argument -- just the clear, simple and ideally appropriate quotation from the Word of God. One passage of Scripture is worth more than all human writing of all ages combined....

.....Only as simple children can we find the simple, childish way of life. Worldly wisdom and knowledge and learning and education are a tremendous -- almost an insuperable -- obstacle in the discernment of the narrow, simple way of Iife....

There is a great lesson here in dealing with temptation. The closer we can get to the simplicity of the Word, the closer we are to the way of Christ and the mind of the Spirit. We are clearly warned that --

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9)

If we give the flesh any scope to twist and argue and confuse the issue, we are lost. There is Scripture for every occasion. It is our wisdom and our life to devote ourselves intensely to seeking these and knowing them as a shield against all temptation.

....We find that Jesus is quoting from the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 8:2-3, and we note throughout how perfectly it applies to Jesus' circumstances, and the purpose of them. In fact, it helps to explain them. These two portions are providentially related as type and antitype --

"Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart."

"He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live."

And verse 5 --

"Thou shalt also consider in thine heart that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee."

"He learned obedience by the things that he suffered."

Wasn't he obedient before? Did he have to learn obedience? He was never disobedient, but he had to learn by trial and testing and experience the full and beautiful depths of faithful, trusting obedience under tribulation and suffering.

How -- in the face of this clear picture of the loving purpose and operation of God -- how could Jesus presume to make bread on his own by the Spirit-power, and spoil the whole arrangement of God's operation?

This whole chapter 8 of Deuteronomy is so much to the point. See verse 18:

"Thou shalt remember the Lord thy God, for it is He that giveth thee power."

Jesus must never forget that the power he had was of direct divine gift, and for divine use only. Dare he then use it to sustain himself directly, and thus cut himself off from the sweet dependence upon God that he shared with all his brethren?

"It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful"

-- and Jesus was the steward of an infinitely greater treasure than any man has ever held. How careful, then, must we be, as faithful stewards, to "Render to God that which is God's." *



5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

Here the temptation takes a different direction. Having failed to induce Jesus to illegitimately gratify the cravings of the flesh... the tempter tries the effect of present honour, wealth and exaltation offered on the simple condition of doing homage to the offerer, as the kings and governors of the Roman earth were in the habit of doing to Cesar for their position and dignities. Jesus utterly repels the suggestion, reminding the tempter that the Scriptures command one service only. **




Some argue the Lord would not allow himself to to be taken to a high mountain but his own commandment contradicts this suggestion...

And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Matt 5: 41

***


What a jump from a loaf of bread to all the glory and authority of the kingdoms of the world! What a vast range temptation covers! The first was the desire of the flesh in its simplest and most harmless -- seeming form.

This is the pride of life in its fullest and highest possible attainment.

The first was plausible, but we may wonder how this offer of the kingdoms of the world could in any way be a temptation to him who knew the mind and purpose of God so well.

Let us fully realize that there is much we do not understand, much we shall never understand during this day of weakness and of "seeing through a glass darkly." But this does not bar us from getting the practical guidance and instruction and comfort and warning and mental transformation that these things are designed to give us. Even Paul said:

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do -- I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Let us extract the utmost value we can from the vast amount that is revealed, and not speculate or be troubled about what is not revealed. There is always danger and division in hazy speculation in the secondary areas, where the light shines only dimly. Let us keep our minds out in the safe bright middle of the beam. *



6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.


It may be asked, How can we imitate him in the rejection of an offer we shall never receive? Well, we shall never be offered power and wealth in the form in which it was offered to him; but we have the same temptation on a smaller scale.

There is a continual and silent offer to every saint (and sometimes the offer is not a silent one) to possess this world's advantages on condition of falling in with the worship of the world in some form or other. Sometimes the worship proposed is ecclesiastical ("join our body, and it will be to your advantage"); sometimes it is political ("it will pay you to take part in politics sometimes it is social ("come out, good fellow, make yourself one of us you will not regret it"); sometimes it is undisguised, by pleasure-seekers and the immoral.

In every case, there is an implied proposal to serve that old serpent, the devil and Satan, which is incorporate in, and deceiveth the whole world, backed up with a guarantee that we shall be rewarded. There is only one safe answer for every brother of the Lord Jesus. Do not parley: repel the advance decisively:"Get thee hence, Satan." We cannot serve God and Mammon.

...The consideration of his resistance to the suggestions of the tempter will help us in all our exposures to similar trial. Is it proposed to us to gratify some craving of the flesh in a forbidden direction? to make a vain-glorious or presumptuous use of spiritual privileges? to obtain temporal advantage by paying court to the enemies of God in any form?

Cast our eyes to the wilderness of Judaea, and remember the principles asserted by the Lord in Scripture quotations, in answer to similar proposals.

Seasons 1.51.




The tempter suggested an easier way of establishing the kingdom -- of beginning Christ's reign on earth. The essence of the temptation seems to be the questioning the necessity, yea, questioning the rightness and justice of the struggle and sorrow and suffering involved in God's appointed way. Why must this terrible suffering be?

Let us not forget that even three years later in Gethsemane, on the eve of his crucifixion, he pleaded --

"My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me."

These things are recorded to show us the terrible reality of the struggle and the glorious magnitude of the victory and sacrifice.


***


We are not offered all the kingdoms of the world. It isn't necessary. Much less temptation is plenty to strain our weak faith. But the diabolos continually offers us pleasant and tempting things on the condition that instead of a completely dedicated service to God, we turn in part to the service of the flesh. These two calls, the flesh and the spirit, are always present, seeking our attention. Temptation is a continuous process. Every action is a yielding to either one or the other - either the flesh toward death, or the spirit toward life.

When we read of Jesus' reaction to temptations, we well realize what Paul meant when he said to Timothy, "The Scriptures are able to make you wise unto salvation" (2 Tim. 3:15). Jesus met them all with, "It is written." We must sincerely try to do the same.

God's law is not a matter of burden or restriction or imposition. Jesus looked upon it as a light, a help, a deliverance and guide through the perils of darkness.

"I delight to do Thy will, O God" (Psa. 40:8).

"Thy testimonies are my delight and my counsellors" (Psa. 119:24).

"Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage" (v. 54).

Without this frame of mind, there is no hope of life, because this is the Word of God, and it is only by being filled with the Word of God that men can live.

Bro Growcott - Tempted in all Points



8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

His ready responses to the tempter show both acquaintance with them [scriptures], and that memory of their practical instructions that was able to apply them in the hour of need.

...There is no temptation that can come to us but what was in principle involved in the specific temptation to which he was subjected in the wilderness after his baptism. The consideration of his resistance to the suggestions of the tempter, will help us in all our exposures to similar trial.

Is it proposed to us to gratify some craving of the flesh in a forbidden direction? to make a vain-glorious or presumptuous use of spiritual privileges? to obtain temporal advantage by paying court to the enemies of God in any form? Let us cast our eyes to the wilderness of Judea, and remember the principles asserted by the Lord in Scripture quotations, in answer to similar proposals.

It is also a remarkable feature of the temptation of Christ, that he employed the Scriptures in repelling the suggestions of the tempter. This is a feature worth noting in a day like ours, when the universal tendency is to give the Scriptures a less and less commanding place.

With Christ, the fact of a thing being "written" was a sufficent reason for making it a rule of conduct, which is becoming less and less the case in a day when more and more the theory finds favour that the Scriptures are partly or wholly the product of human thought, and subject to human judgment and conscience as to the obligation of its precepts. ***



And the devil said unto him...

The "diabolos" is sin-in-the-flesh, in all its forms and manifestations -- from within, from without, personal, social, national, political.

The particular identity of the diabolos -- tempter -- deceiver -- in Jesus' case is not revealed, as it is not in the very similar case of Job. Therefore, it is not important that we know. The value of the record for us lies in other aspects of the matter, and God leaves out the unimportant parts that our attention may not be distracted from that which is important.

Bro. Thomas and Bro. Roberts were both firmly convinced that there was an external, personal tempter, whoever he may have been. We believe that the more we study the matter scripturally, the more we will be convinced that this is the soundest and safest view.

When God's purpose requires it, He can make sure that the necessary adversary is in the right place, as in the case of Adam, and Moses, and Job, and so many others.

We know Jesus had to battle and overcome the diabolos in himself. This was the whole essence and power and meaning of his victory. Bro. Roberts points out that the mere impulse to do something God had prohibited is not in itself transgression. But the slightest entertaining of, or giving in to, that impulse -- even only in thought -- is transgression.

And Jesus was absolutely sinless in thought, word, and deed. That basic fact we must preserve inviolate, and no interpretation can be entertained which even hints at undermining it.

The idea is abhorrent that Jesus would ever voluntarily entertain, or toy with, or soliloquize within himself upon a course of sin, even for a moment. To his pure mind all sin was repugnant and hateful, immediately upon recognition.

He had to examine all suggestions and desires and impulses in the light of God's Word, immediately rejecting them without thought of compromise, as soon as their unscripturalness was perceived --

"Get thee behind me Satan for thou savorest not of the things of God, but of men." *



9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:

Here we have a different class of temptation. In the first, he was invited, for two powerful reasons, to make a forbidden use of power entrusted to his hands. In this the tempter goes to the other extreme, and invites Jesus to throw himself ostentatiously on the promises of God.

This, perhaps, was more difficult to meet than the other. It was as if the tempter said, "Thou art the Messiah, art thou not?" -- "Yes." "It is written, is it not, that He shall give His angels charge concerning thee, and they shall bear thee up?" -- "It is so written." "Cast thyself down, then; how canst thou expect me to believe if thou dost not?"

How was this to be met? By the assertion of a principle ignored in the tempter's application of scripture -- a principle which all divine promises pre-suppose, and which would have been violated by compliance with the tempter's challenge; viz., that there must be no familiarity or presumption towards God: that we must make a wise and full use of all that He has put in our power, and that divine help is only for the need that remains after there has been a humble, wise, and loving employment of the means already in our hand.

This principle Jesus asserted by quoting Scripture: "Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God." Had he thrown himself down, as the tempter proposed, he would have done what the Scriptures thus forbid, and would have forfeited his claim to the promise to which the tempter so sophistically appealed. The protection promised in that promise was protection from evil beyond control, and not from evil rashly and presumptiously incurred. **



9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:

How was this to be met? By the assertion of a principle ignored in the tempter's application of Scripture -- a principle which all divine promises presuppose, and which would have been violated by compliance with the tempter's challenge; that there must be no familiarity or presumption towards God: that we must make a wise and full use of all that He has put in our power, and that divine help is only for the need that remains after there has been a humble, wise and loving employment of the means already in our hand.

This principle Jesus asserted by quoting Scripture: "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Had he thrown himself down, as the tempter proposed, he would have done what the Scriptures thus forbid, and would have forfeited his claim to the promise to which the tempter so sophistically appealed. The protection promised in that passage was protection from evil beyond control, and not from evil rashly and presumptuously incurred.

The application of this to the brethren of Christ is obvious. They are not to tempt God by running into evil on the strength of promises that are for those only who in wisdom and the fear of God act the part of wise stewards of what God has already committed to them. They must learn rightly to divide the word of truth, and not, like the tempter, exalt one part of the word to the destruction of another.

It is written, "Cast thy bread to the hungry": they are not, therefore, to scatter their entire substance to the beggars of the street for it is also written,

"He that provideth not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."

Ministration to the poor is to be in the measure allowed by the provision of home. It is written,

"Seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink: seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you."

We are not, therefore, to neglect the means of livelihood; for it is also written,

"If any man will not work, neither shall he eat." "Provide things honest in the sight of all men."

We are not to make temporal ends the object of life and the springs of our actions; we are to give this place to the kingdom of God. Nevertheless, we are to be "diligent in business while thus serving the Lord." It is written,

"Take no thought for the morrow." "Have faith in God." "He careth for you." "He knoweth what things ye have need of." "He will feed and clothe you."

We are not, therefore, to sit down in idleness, make no arrangement and put forth no effort, expecting the bread to be brought to our doors, for it is also written,

"Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise." "Labour with your hands, providing the thing that is good." "Commit the keeping of your souls to him in well-doing."

We are to find the harmony of these various directions of the word in an un-anxious, trustful, well-doing industry which we trust God to bless and prosper for the ministering of seed to the sower and bread to the eater.

Seasons 1.51.



Cast thyself down.

"The Jews require a sign..."

The Jews wanted something spectacular to glorify their nation, and lead them to triumph. They laid down the course that God should follow, instead of humbly seeking God's way. They wanted to put God to their test.

This casting himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple would be just the kind of thing that would have appealed to them and impressed them. Should he use some means like this of gaining notoriety and favour? It would be so easy! *



10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:

"It is written." Here was a new and subtle approach -- "It is written." We can always find Scripture to justify anything that the flesh wants to do.

"Shall we call down fire from heaven as Elias did?" (Lk. 9:54).

"We have a law, and by our law he ought to die" (Jn. 19:7).

They quoted God's law to condemn God's Own Son. *



What did God say to Cain? "Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? if thou doest well, shalt not thou be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door" (Gen. 4:6-7). Whose door? Cain's door. Do not err, my beloved brethren. The command is there. The power is there. The responsibility is there. It can be done, and it must be done.

There will be failures, but let us not blame anyone for them but ourselves. They are danger signals-flaws that show up in testing. The failures show that we have failed to prepare ourselves-failed to apply our heart aright-failed to draw upon the great reservoir of power and wisdom offered through the Scriptures and the Spirit of God. Let us humbly recognize our failures, and assume full responsibility for them. Then, and then only, is there any hope of overcoming. In whatever circumstances we are placed, let us remember that God is trying us to prove what is in our hearts.

Temptation can be met as Jesus met it-with a simple, powerful, "It is written." An impregnable armor, if we will make the effort required to put it on. And it is effort-long hours of effort and application as long as life continues. Paul told Timothy that the Scriptures were able to make him wise unto salvation. They were able to provide him with a ready "It is written" to each of the endless problems, trials and temptation that fill the probationary period. But Paul also made it clear that Timothy must "Meditate upon these things, and give himself wholly to them" (1 Tim. 4:15).

Bro Growcott - Tempted in All Points



12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

What did God say to Cain? "Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? if thou doest well, shalt not thou be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door" (Gen. 4:6-7). Whose door? Cain's door. Do not err, my beloved brethren. The command is there. The power is there. The responsibility is there. It can be done, and it must be done.

There will be failures, but let us not blame anyone for them but ourselves. They are danger signals-flaws that show up in testing. The failures show that we have failed to prepare ourselves-failed to apply our heart aright-failed to draw upon the great reservoir of power and wisdom offered through the Scriptures and the Spirit of God. Let us humbly recognize our failures, and assume full responsibility for them. Then, and then only, is there any hope of overcoming. In whatever circumstances we are placed, let us remember that God is trying us to prove what is in our hearts.

Temptation can be met as Jesus met it-with a simple, powerful, "It is written." An impregnable armor, if we will make the effort required to put it on. And it is effort-long hours of effort and application as long as life continues. Paul told Timothy that the Scriptures were able to make him wise unto salvation. They were able to provide him with a ready "It is written" to each of the endless problems, trials and temptation that fill the probationary period. But Paul also made it clear that Timothy must "Meditate upon these things, and give himself wholly to them" (1 Tim. 4:15).

Bro Growcott - Tempted in All Points



12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Thou shalt not tempt Yahweh thy elohim.

What is the lesson for us? Do we tempt God? Put Him to the test? Question anything He does? Presume to force His hand? Set conditions for Him to meet? This is a common presumption, rooted in the pride of life, as if He were our private God, bound to do our private bidding.

How common it is for men to question His ways, and set their own standards to measure Him by! Judge Him on the basis of what they think He should do!

V 5-12. The order of the two temptations v 5-12 is different in Matthew and Luke. There must be a reason. We know that God does not make mistakes. We know He does nothing without a reason, and we know that this is the Word of God.

It has been suggested that this variation of order is to indicate that there was a doubling of the temptation series, and that actually there were six -- first the three recorded by Luke, then the three by Matthew. This is not unreasonable, for we know the whole forty days was a period of temptation.

And there is a certain fitness in this suggestion, for doubling is a significant aspect of important divine things, to signify certainty and establishment. It would lay, at this vital crisis in Jesus' ministry, a broader basis to his victory, showing that he was unmoved and unshaken by repeated assault. It would introduce, too, the very fitting symbol of six. *



13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

"In the days of his flesh he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears" (Heb. 5:7).

The whole meaning and value of his work and victory was his real, complete, perfect, continuous unfailing overcoming.

He never sinned. He never failed. Truly he was strengthened and helped for the tremendous work he had to do -- the work of completely -- perfectly -- without one flaw or failure -- resisting and overcoming and crushing, by the power of the Word of God, every moment-to-moment tendency of the flesh during every moment of his responsible lifetime.

Truly he was strengthened; because what he accomplished is -- as are all other things -- in the ultimate, the work of God. Jesus said himself, "I of mine own self can do nothing." *


14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

...he proved that, by the power of the Spirit, he was the master of his own soul. Faced by the wicked suggestions of one called "diabolos" (vv. 2, 3, 5, 6) that were entirely opposed to the divine declaration in law and prophets, the Master perfectly resisted the evil and ungodly propositions that would have brought him into the association of the apostate leaders of Judea at the time.

John Baptist understood what was occurring, for after the forty days, he saw the Master returning from the wilderness and announced: 

"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

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Christ tempted, Christ suffering, Christ mocked, and rejected, Christ crucified -- the power of God, and the wisdom of God, and the love of God, and the righteousness of God, and the salvation of God! *

Bro Growcott - Strong Crying And Tears



When the temptation was ended, Jesus "came into Galilee." The enemies of the Bible make a great deal of the apparent discrepancy on this point between John and the other gospel narrators. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all speak of the temptation as occurring immediately after Christ's baptism in the Jordan, while John not only omits the temptation altogether, but appears to represent Jesus as remaining in the neighbourhood of the Jordan several days after his baptism, and departing thence to Galilee.

The explanation of this is to be found in the nature of John's account as distinguished from the others. It is not a chronological biography, but a report of special sayings and discourses of Christ, for which there is only so much of circumstantial narrative introduced as is needful for a frame-work.

There is no doubt some truth in the tradition that John's gospel was written last, and, not only last, but long after the others had been in circulation among believers. Its existence is doubtless due to the perception which John had of the necessity there was for a fuller exhibition of the sayings of Christ, in confutation of the erroneous ideas about him that had sprung into activity with the course of time.

So much as was already well known, he would naturally think it superflous to write (and the Spirit was with him to guide and direct). Therefore, the temptation (three times already recorded) he would omit, equally with the particulars of his birth. But, says the caviller,

"he ought not to have contradicted the other accounts. He ought not to have represented Christ as in the neighbourhood of the Jordan, and departing to Galilee during the forty days he was in the wilderness."

The answer is, John does not do so. He only appears to do so on a rough reading. He does not record the baptism of Jesus. He only records the Baptist's remarks about it, and these remarks were made some time after it had occurred, for they are descriptive of its having occurred.

How long after, does not appear. It may have been some weeks. It may have been long enough to give time for Christ's forty days' absence in the wilderness. True, it speaks of Jesus coming to John the same day; but may not this have been after the return of Jesus from the wilderness?

If the place of temptation were, as believed, to the south of the place of baptism, it would be natural that Jesus on his way to Galilee, which lay to the north, should repass the scene of his baptism where the Baptist was still at work with the multitude; and what more natural in that case than that the Baptist, on seeing him again, should say (as John represents him saying),

"Behold the Lamb of God.... I saw the Spirit descending from heaven, and it abode upon him?"

It is evident that Christ's baptism had happened some time before: in which case, there is no discrepancy at all between John and the other recorders, but merely a different order of narrative. **

**Nazareth Revisited Ch 11


14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

Christ tempted, Christ suffering, Christ mocked, and rejected, Christ crucified -- the power of God, and the wisdom of God, and the love of God, and the righteousness of God, and the salvation of God! *

*Bro Growcott - Strong Crying And Tears



15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

It is further significant that in his reading of the Word in the synagogue, Yahshua carefully interpreted the prophecy of Isaiah 61, inasmuch as he concluded his citation half way through verse 2. This citation related to his first advent. 

The balance of the verse in Isaiah 61 relates to his coming again, and he could not therefore cite it and say: "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears", for the balance of the verse related to his second coming. 

He will soon return to complete the terms of the prophecy, and may well quote the remainder of Isaiah 61, in the opening ceremony of the Day of Dedication in the future temple, and thereby record: "This is fulfilled in your ears... and in your sight." What a wonderful occasion that will be! - 

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22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?

23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;

26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.

27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,

29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,

31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.

33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,


34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.

Christ is more than kind; he is holy. He is more than forgiving; he is just, and with wickedness angry. He is more than gentle; he is exacting of supreme affection. He is more than good; he is zealous of the Father. He is more than courteous, refined, and cultivated; he is the impartial judge according to each man's work, regarding not the persons of men, and speaking flattery to none.

He is more than man; he is God manifest. The Lamb of God, he is yet the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The healing Sun of Righteousness, he is yet the treader of the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. A right acquaintance with him will embrace all the features of his beauty, and will lead to the imitation of each of them in our own characters: for he is the example set us to copy.

The omission of any causes defect. Some try to imitate his kindness while forgetting his zeal. Others copy his severity while failing to remember his gentleness. Others extol his placability and charity while overlooking his righteousness and jealousy of the Father's honour.

Let us remember all the elements of his perfect character. They are altogether lovely. They constitute the Lord Jesus one by himself in the history of the world. No such personage ever appeared before or since. No name comes near his in its glorious renown. Even now, in the present evil world, God hath given him a name which is above every name.

Well may we choose him as our portion and inheritance. The present, which is all we have of our own, is a transitory dream of trouble; while the future, which is his, and ours in him, is an everlasting reign of glory.

Bro Roberts - The Beauty of Christ