Jesus’ 40 Days of Testing in The Wilderness
Luke 4:1-13 – August 15, 2021
Preview – Mark 1:9-13 and Matthew 3:16-17 – 4:1-11 –
Shortly after His baptism Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He was challenged by Satan. As Jesus did not have a sin nature such as other men are born with there was naught that Satan could appeal to with any effect. Nonetheless, Satan tried for 40 days and nights making bribes and demands upon Jesus. In spite of all of this, Jesus being the Word made flesh, used Scripture time and time again to rebuke and rebut Satan until he departed. Jesus demonstrates obedience to His Father throughout in His responses to Satan who wants Jesus to disobey His Father and as a result be unable to fulfill the ultimate His Father has put before Him. As one without sin to pay the price, the ransom, for all of our sin.
4:1-2 – Here it is the trinity against the devil for Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and the Father as well as Jesus says in John 14:11, Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
4:2b-4 – We are only told of three of the tests or temptations Jesus was faced with, but this one to my way of thinking would have been the worst or greatest for Jesus was fully human and fully God so after 40 days without food He certainly would have been hungry, very hungry. As a man Jesus would have felt hunger, real hunger. But instead of addressing His hunger, Jesus answers this test, this temptation, with words found in Deuteronomy 8:3, He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. The idea here being God did this to teach that mankind cannot live by bread alone but needs everything that comes from Yahweh’s mouth.
4:5-8 – Satan must have been desperate here as he is asking his creator to worship his creation and reveals his incredible arrogance and ego. Perhaps Satan did not know he was speaking to his creator. For while Satan knew scripture, he was yet to learn the New Testament where in Colossians 1:16 we are told, For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. But Satan was the ruler or prince of this world (John 12:31) and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) since the fall of Adam. Thus he does possess the glory of the kingdoms of this world and can give it to whomever he wishes and we should not be surprised to see the ungodly in positions of power and prestige (Guzik). Jesus once again turned to scripture to answer and rebut Satan. This time by quoting/paraphrasing part of Deuteronomy 6:13 (NASB) You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name and adding serve him only.
4:9-13 – Here Satan once again refers to If (Since) you are the Son of God for the second time (v3) and then quotes scripture to Jesus. Using Psalm 91:11-12 out of context, For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. But Jesus obviously knows the Psalm better than Satan and it is about God being our refuge and fortress as in verse 2, I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” And then in verse 15 where He protects and shields His own as He will be with him (who is) in trouble. Jesus puts an end to this by once again quoting from Deuteronomy 6:16, Do not put the Lord your God to the test. The essence of this test/temptation is to presume upon God. Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to throw them into the fire, they said Daniel 3:17-18, If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. They were not putting God to the test, they were trusting in God no matter what He would choose to do.
Bottom Line: In all of our trials and tribulations, who are we going to trust? God or Satan? How are we to tell the difference? The Bible. Not some cherry picking of verses, but of the scripture as a whole. It is our choice. It was Jesus’ choice as fully man just as it is ours. Jesus showed us how to choose. How will we choose?
Ezekiel 33:30-32, As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.