Luke 4:1-4

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

July 19, 2000


Jesus has been baptized by John the Baptist.  As He was being baptized, He prayed, and the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus.

:1  And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan,

fullpleres – full, i.e. filled up (as opposed to empty); full, i.e. complete; lacking nothing, perfect

returnedhupostrepho – to turn back; to turn about; to return

:1  and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

ledago – to lead, take with one; to lead by laying hold of, and this way to bring to the point of destination; to lead by accompanying to (into) a place; to lead, guide, direct

wildernesseremos – solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited; a desert, wilderness

From Chuck: 

The Judean wilderness stretches from an area just 15 miles north of Jericho, and continues on down to the Dead Sea, and it extends back to what are known as the Jerusalem Hills. There is an average of one inch of rain per year. It is a very wild desolate area. Temperatures can get up to 120-125 degrees.


God is involved in the testing process.

God never tempts you to sin
(James 1:13-15 NLT)  And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, "God is tempting me." God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either. {14} Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. {15} These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death.
But He can lead you into difficult times, part of which may include temptation.
The point is, Jesus going into the wilderness was not some kind of mistake.  Neither was it Satan’s idea to get Jesus into the wilderness.
It could be that you are ion a difficult time in your life, and you originally thought that God was leading you to where you are, but now that it’s hard, you begin to wonder if God was the one leading you.
The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness.
Why does God do this?
One of God’s reasons involves testing.  God allowed Job to be tested.

(Job 1:8 KJV)  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

God may be testing you, to find out what is in your heart.

Abraham was “tested”.

Heb 11:17  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten [son],

This as when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son.  Abraham went so far as to even raise a knife up to kill Isaac, when the Angel of the Lord stopped him.

(Gen 22:12 KJV)  And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

In reality, God already knows how you’ll do on the test.  In reality, the test is to show YOU, just what is in your heart.

When you face a temptation, don’t just write it off as being some kind of Satanic attack.  Satan may indeed be involved, but God may also be standing by watching to see how you handle the test.

God doesn’t want you failing your “test”, He wants you to pass it.


As the Union Pacific Railroad was being constructed, an elaborate trestle bridge was built across a large canyon in the West.  Wanting to test the bridge, the builder loaded a train with enough extra cars and equipment to double its normal payload.  The train was then driven to the middle of the bridge, where it stayed an entire day. One worker asked, “Are you trying to see if we can break this bridge?”

“No,” the builder replied, “I’m trying to prove that the bridge won’t break.”


God knows your limits.

1Co 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
God will NEVER allow you to be tempted in such a way that you could honestly respond, “I was unable to say “no” to this”.
Frankly, we have a real hard time believing this.  We often give in to temptation because we have ourselves convinced that we were unable to resist.
It was due to the efforts of Samuel Plimsoll (1824-98), British reformer, that the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876 was passed, requiring all ships to bear a mark known as the Plimsoll mark and indicating the maximum load line. By this act the Board of Trade of England was empowered to detain any vessel deemed unsafe, and the amount of cargo was restricted, thus making the long and perilous ocean voyage of those days much safer. Because of his work, Plimsoll became known as the sailor's friend. The Plimsoll mark, with its gradations and figures, may be seen on the bow of ships near the water line as they lie at anchor in a harbor.
In God's sight, each of us has a similar mark, though we may not be able to see it. The burdens and responsibilities He gives us may seem unbearable, but He knows our limit.

-- William Austin, 1967 Pastor's Annual (Zondervan, 1967), p. 234.

:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil.

temptedpeirazo – to try whether a thing can be done; to attempt, endeavour; to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quantity, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself; used either in a good way, being “tested”, or in a bad sense, being “tempted”.

The direct temptation to sin comes from Satan.

Sometimes we think that the temptation didn’t come until the end of the forty days, but Luke records that Jesus was tempted the entire time.


Jesus understands.

Jesus knows what it’s like to face temptation.
Heb 2:18  For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
(Heb 4:15-16 KJV)  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
You can come to Him because He knows what it’s like.
Joseph Mallord Turner, English painter, invited Charles Kingsley to his studio to see a picture of a storm at sea.  In rapt admiration, Kingsley exclaimed, “It’s wonderful!  It’s so realistic!  How did you do it?”
The artist replied, “I went to the coast of Holland and engaged a fisherman to take me out to sea in the next storm. Entering his boat as a storm was brewing, I asked him to bind me to the mast.  Then he steered his boat into the teeth of the storm.
“The storm raged with such fury that at times I longed to be in the bottom of the boat where the waves would blow over me.  I could not, however.  I was bound to the mast.  Not only did I see the storm in its raging fury, I felt it! It blew into me, as it were, until I became a part of it.  After this terrible ordeal, I returned to my studio and painted the picture.”
It is written of the Savior, “For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:18).

-- Told by Bishop Slattery

:2  And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

Jesus went on a forty day fast.

I am told that when you go on a prolonged fast, you will lose your hunger pains after a week.  Then, for the next few weeks, you do not experience hunger pains.  But when you again begin to feel hungry, you need to pay attention to what’s happening, because your body is telling you that you need food, or you will starve to death.

Jesus has fasted to the point where He is at His weakest.


Great temptations can come when we’re physically weakest.

We shouldn’t use tiredness, sickness, or hunger as an excuse to give in to temptation, but we ought to be careful to realize when we are weak.

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

commandepo – to speak, say

stonelithos – a stone

breadartos – food composed of flour mixed with water and baked; loaf of bread.

What is really wrong with what Satan is telling Jesus to do?

I’m not sure that I see what is so wrong with turning stones to bread for Jesus to feed Himself.  There is no commandment in Scripture against turning stones to bread.  There is nothing wrong with eating or meeting your physical needs.

I’m not sure that Satan is even really trying to get Jesus to question whether He is the Son of God.  The question is written as a “first class condition” (Greek grammar), which means that Satan assumes that Jesus is the Son of God.  We could translate it, “If you are the Son of God, and you are, then …”

It would seem to me, based on how Jesus responds, that the point of the temptation is to get Jesus to focus on His own physical needs above His spiritual needs.

It would seem that the temptation was not in Jesus feeding His physical body, but in Jesus letting His physical needs become more important than His spiritual needs.

:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written,

Jesus answered temptation with Scripture.


The Sword of the Spirit

Our greatest spiritual weapon in life is God’s Word.
(Heb 4:12 KJV)  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(Heb 4:12 NLT)  For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.
This was given to me by a brother who learned this while serving in the Marines.  Though it speaks about a “rifle”, an awful lot of it could be said about the Sword of the Spirit.

The Rifleman’s Creed

This is my rifle.  There are many like it, but this one is mine.  My rifle is my best friend.  It is my life.  I must master it as I master my life.

My rifle without me is useless.  Without my rifle I am useless.  I must fire my rifle true.  I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me.  I must strike him before he shoots me.

My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make.  We know that it is the hits that count.

My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life.  Thus I will learn it as a brother.  I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel.  I will keep my rifle clean and ready even as I am clean and ready.  We will become part of each other.

Before God I swear this creed.  My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country.  We are the masters of our enemy.  We are the saviors of my life.

God’s Word is like our “rifle”.  We must master it.  We are useless without it.  We need to aim correctly at the enemy, Satan.  We need to use God’s Word to hit the target, not just shoot wildly in the air.


Does God’s Word have authority in your life?

For God’s Word to have it’s greatest effectiveness in your life, you have to ask yourself, “How much of my life am I willing to let God’s Word affect?”
God’s Word is powerful and will have an affect by itself, but the amount of the affect depends on how you view God’s Word.
Jesus told a parable about a farmer sowing seed (Mat. 13) on four different kinds of soil, and the farmer got four different kinds of results depending on what kind of soil the seed landed on.  It was the same, powerful, seed in each soil, but the effect produced depended to some measure on the type of soil.
My concern is that we don’t just take God’s Word as some kind of “lucky charm” to ward off evil.  Jesus didn’t quote Scripture like He was speaking some kind of magical incantation, He was quoting Scripture because it is the truth, and Jesus chose to live His life according to God’s truth, not according to Satan’s version of truth.
Just quoting a Scripture now and then isn’t going to help unless you understand it and unless you believe it, and unless you believe that God’s Word has supreme authority in your life.
(Psa 119:11 NASB)  Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee.

Do you “treasure” God’s Word in your heart?  Is it your standard for what is true?

:4  That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Here’s Jesus’ response.  It reveals what the true temptation was all about.

All of Jesus’ responses will be from Deuteronomy.  Here He quotes from

(Deu 8:1-3 KJV)  All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers. {2} And 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, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. {3} And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; 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.

All through the wilderness, God was “testing” Israel to find out if they were going to be faithful to keep God’s commandments, His “Word”.
Even with the manna, God gave certain guidelines to “test” the people to see if they would learn to follow God’s directions.
God was teaching the people that they needed more than just bread to exist, they needed to learn to follow God’s directions in order to survive.


Life comes from following God’s directions.

Having real “life” is more than just meeting your own physical needs.  Your survival in this life and the next depends on whether or not you’re going to take God’s directions seriously.


Food is a pretty basic need.  Yet God was concerned for His people and actually gave Israel laws of what to eat and what not to eat.  And God gave them a pretty healthy diet.  They would be better off health-wise if they followed God’s directions.


Some people would consider sex as a physical need.  Yet God was concerned in how Israel met this need.  God gave them laws of what was good and what wasn’t.  If the world today followed God’s laws concerning sex, there would be no AIDS epidemic.


God came up with the idea that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.  Yet going out and marrying the first person that comes along isn’t God’s idea of marriage.  God warned the Israelites against marrying an unbeliever from the pagan nations because He was concerned that the Israelites would abandon the Lord.

There’s nothing wrong with meeting these kinds of needs.  The thing that is important is how you meet them, and whether or not you are choosing to meet them in God’s way.