LUKE 4
Enter subtitle here


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

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

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. *



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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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



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