Luke 4:9-13

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

August 2, 2000


As Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He fasted for forty days was tempted by Satan.

The first temptation was to turn stones into bread.

We saw from the nature of Jesus’ response that the real temptation was to get Jesus to look to physical things like food for the source of His life instead of looking to God.

The second temptation was to worship Satan in exchange for ruling the world.

It seems to me that the temptation was not just about worshipping Satan, but one of taking a shortcut.  Jesus would eventually become King of Kings, but in God’s plan, the path involved a cross.  Satan wanted Jesus to avoid the cross.

:9-12  The Third Temptation

Note:  If you’ve looked at Matthew 4, you’ll notice that the temptations in Luke are in a different order.  The second and third temptations are switched.  Luke’s words don’t seem to imply any certain order.  It’s Matthew that seems to imply an order to the temptations, using the word “then” to connect the temptations.  This would seem to make Matthew’s the chronological order.

: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:

he broughtago – to lead, take with one; to lead by laying hold of, and this way to bring to the point of destination: of an animal

set himhistemi – to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set

pinnaclepterugion – a wing, a little wing; any pointed extremity; of fins of fishes; of the top of the temple at Jerusalem.  If this is the word for “fins”, does that mean the temple had a “fifties look”?  (bad joke).

It is thought that this might be a high point on the temple overlooking the Kidron Valley, a steep drop.

castballo – to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls

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

give … chargeentellomai – to order, command to be done, enjoin

to keepdiaphulasso – to guard carefully; the LXX used this esp. of God’s providential care


Quoting Scripture doesn’t make it automatically right

Even Satan knows Scripture.  Sometimes we naively think that if someone is quoting a Bible verse to us, that they must be right.  Not so.
Satan knows the Bible, and he isn’t afraid to use it.
One of his tactics is to give you a lot of truth, but hide enough error in it that it kills you.  He hides a “point of poison in a lake of truth”.

Brownies with a Difference (by Annette Nay)

Many parents are hard put to explain to their youth why some music, movies, books, and magazines are not acceptable material for them to bring into the home, for their youth to see, or hear. One parent came up with an original idea that was hard to refute.  He listened to all the reasons his children gave for wanting to see a particular PG-13 movie. It had their favorite actors. Everyone else was seeing it. Even church members said it was great. It was only rated PG-13 because of the suggestion of sex. They never really showed it. The language was pretty good. They only used the Lord’s name in vain three times in the whole movie. The video effects were fabulous and the plot was action packed. Yes, there was the scene where a building and a bunch of people got blown up, but the violence was just the normal stuff. It wasn’t very bad.  Even with all these explanations for the rating, the father wouldn’t give in. He didn’t even give them a satisfying explanation for saying, “No.” He just said, “No.”  It was a little bit later that evening, that this same father asked his teens if they would like some brownies he had prepared. He explained that he had taken the family’s favorite recipe and added something new. They asked what it was. He calmly replied that he had added dog poop. He stated that it was only a little bit. All the ingredients were gourmet quality. He had taken great care to bake it at the precise temperature for the exact time. He was sure the brownies would be superb. Even with all the explanations of the perfect attributes of the brownies, the teens would not take one.  He father acted surprised. There was only one little element that would have caused them to act so stubbornly. He assured them that they would hardly notice it if at all. They all held firm and would not try the brownies.  He then explained that the movie they wanted to see was just like the brownies. Satan tries to enter our minds and our homes by deceiving us into believing that just a little bit of evil won’t matter. With the brownies, just a little bit makes all the difference between a great brownie and a totally unacceptable product. He explained that even though the movie people would have us believe the movies which are coming out are acceptable for adults and youths to see, they are not.

It’s not enough that a person or a group is quoting Scripture.  It’s important whether or not they are quoting Scripture correctly, getting the sense of the Scripture, keeping in mind the whole of Scripture.
It’s just that little bit of crud that the enemy will sneak in that makes something sickening.

:11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

shall bear thee upairo – to raise up, elevate, lift up; to raise from the ground, take up: stones; to raise upwards, elevate, lift up: the hand

thou dashproskopto – to strike against; of those who strike against a stone or other obstacle in the path, to stumble

Satan quotes from:

(Psa 91:9-16 KJV)  Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; {10} There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. {11} For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. {12} They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. {13} Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. {14} Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. {15} He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. {16} With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.


Read the whole passage.

As in every kind of doctrinal error, it looks okay in the way that it is presented, at least until you begin to go back to the source and look at the context.
Most of the time, you can resolve a problem by going to the passage and seeing what the WHOLE passage says.
Satan leaves out several things.
He misses the phrase “to keep thee in all thy ways”.

The idea is that if we’re walking in God’s ways, then He’ll protect us.

He also “forgets” to quote that it is because the person has made Yahweh their refuge (vs.9), that this happens.

You can’t have Yahweh being your refuge and then go out and do the things that Satan tells you to do.

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

It is saidereo – to utter, speak, say.

The previous two times, Jesus answered with, “It is written”.  After Satan quotes Scripture and says, “It is written”, Jesus responds with, “It is said”.

temptekpeirazo – to prove, test, thoroughly; to put to proof God’s character and power


Tempting or Trusting.

Look at the passage that Jesus quotes from:
(Deu 6:14-18 KJV)  Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; {15} (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. {16} Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. {17} Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. {18} And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers,
temptnacah – to test, try, prove, tempt, assay, put to the proof or test

This is not necessarily an “evil” word by itself.  In fact, most of the times it is used in the Old Testament, it is used to describe how God “tests” or “proves” us:

Ex 16:4  Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove (nacah) them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

When God called Gideon to deliver Israel from the Midianites, Gideon put out these little tests, his “fleece” before the Lord, in order to be sure he was doing what God really had asked him.

Jud 6:39  And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove (nacah), I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.

God did not rebuke Gideon for “testing” Him.  Instead, He did what Gideon asked.  Gideon needed reassuring, and God was willing to oblige.

There is even one instance of nacah where King Ahaz is asked by Isaiah to ask God for a sign, and he refuses to ask for a sign saying he doesn’t want to “tempt” (nacah) God (Isa 7:12).  But Ahaz is rebuked because God was offering to give him a sign.

There is even a sense in which God wants us to “prove” Him.  He wants us to know how wonderful He is.  David wrote,

(Psa 34:8 KJV)  O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

So, what does it mean to “tempt the Lord”?  In Deuteronomy it said to not tempt God “as at Massah”.  Let’s look at what happened at “Massah” (a form of nacah).  Israel has just been delivered from slavery in Egypt, seen the plagues, the first Passover, gone through the Red Sea, having a pillar of cloud and fire to guide them:

(Exo 17:1-7 KJV)  And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. {2} Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt (nacah) the LORD? {3} And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? {4} And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. {5} And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. {6} Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. {7} And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

chideriyb – to strive, contend; to make complaint; to quarrel

It seems that there is almost the idea of pushing a person’s patience.  The people had seen God’s great power at the Passover and in crossing the Red Sea.  So why should they go on complaining?  Why should they be doubting whether God was with them or not?  They were “pushing it” with the Lord.  But notice, God did what they asked.  The problem was that they didn’t stop “pushing” at the Lord.

(Psa 95 KJV)  O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. {2} Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. {3} For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. {4} In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. {5} The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. {6} O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. {7} For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, {8} Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: {9} When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. {10} Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: {11} Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

provocation[email protected] – strife, contention

temptationmaccah – despair, test; proving, trial.  The word is based on nacah.

I get the feeling that the people were constantly “testing” the Lord.  And they really had no reason to be “testing” or “challenging” the Lord.

Sometimes I see in relationships this “testing” going on where a person’s love and commitment are constantly being challenged.  One person will say to the other, “You don’t really love me.  If you really loved me you would do “this” for me.”  What ends up happening is that one person ends up manipulating the other in order to keep “proving” their love over and over again.

The nation of Israel saw God work in incredible ways to deliver them from slavery in Egypt.  How could they be questioning whether God was real or whether He cared about them?  Yes, they had no water, but if you think about it, why didn’t they just ask God for water?

David said that we face a choice:  Hard Hearts or Praising Hearts.

God is willing to put up with our lack of faith by giving us “fleeces” like Gideon’s.  But there comes a point where God wants us to stop “testing” Him and start “trusting” Him.

If we are trusting Him, we will be praising Him.

(Psa 34:8 KJV)  O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Back to Jesus’ temptation.

Did Jesus have any reason to doubt God’s presence or love?  Absolutely none.  There was no reason to “test” God.  Jesus already trusted the Father.
There is a difference between asking God’s help in a situation where you need it, and when you’re in a situation where you don’t really need God’s help, you’re just wanting God to put on a show for you.
If Jesus had been pushed off a cliff by a crowd of angry people, that would be a good time to be quoting Psalm 91.  But Jesus didn’t have to be falling off a cliff to His death.  He didn’t need to “test” God in this.

Wiersbe:  “When a child of God is in the will of God, he can claim the Father’s protection and care. But if he willfully gets into trouble and expects God to rescue him, then he is tempting God.”

Some oddball churches have a practice of drinking poison or handling poisonous snakes to show that God is with them.  It’s one thing to see God’s protection in a situation when you were unexpectedly put in danger, but it’s another to put yourself in danger just to see if God is real.

:13  Satan stops

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

had ended allsunteleo – to end together or at the same time; to end completely; bring to an end, finish, complete; to accomplish, bring to fulfillment.

It is thought that in these three temptations, Satan offered Jesus basically every kind of temptation that there is.

1st temptation – for physical needs, appetites
2nd temptation – ambition, glory
3rd temptation – nerves, fear

temptationpeirasmos – an experiment, attempt, trial, proving

he departedaphistemi – to make stand off, cause to withdraw, to remove; to go away, to depart from anyone

seasonkairos – due measure; a measure of time, a larger or smaller portion of time, hence:; opportune or seasonable time; a limited period of time


He only leaves for a season.

I think that sometimes we can get the idea that Jesus only had to face forty days’ worth of temptation and after that, Satan left him alone.
Satan only took a break for a little while.  He’d be back.
The devil attacked Jesus by the aid of Peter (Mr 8:33),  through the Pharisees (Joh 8:40),  besides Gethsemane (Lu 22:42,53).
(1 Pet 5:8 KJV)  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
When you go through a tough time of testing, and the enemy seems to let up for awhile, don’t let down your guard.  He’ll be back.