Today: [Luke 4] The Nature of Jesus’ Temptation: In Luke 4 we find Jesus in the wilderness being tempted of the devil. Was the devil tempting Jesus to break His fast? Was the devil tempting Him with power and glory? When we study the true nature of how the enemy REALLY tempted Jesus, we will understand something of how we can overcome when we are likewise tempted.
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[Luk 4:1-22 KJV] 1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost 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. 3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 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. 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. 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 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. 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: 10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11 And in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. 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. 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. 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?
In chapter 4 of Luke we see Jesus led of the Spirit into the wilderness where after 40 days He is tempted of the devil. It is important to notice that He wasn’t tempted for 40 days, because v. 2 indicates that the enemy came to Him AFTER His fast was ended. First of all let’s give some thought to a 40 day fast. Many people think that a 1 or 2 day fast can be health threatening but that is not true. For a person in reasonably good health it is possible to fast up to 40 days without detriment to their health. Jesus’ fast in this case did not include fasting water, because v. 2 says at the end of the fast He was not thirsty, but rather was only hungry. Another thing to realize about a long fast, is the vulnerable state you may find yourself in at the end of the fast. At the end of this fast, the enemy attacks Jesus with his insults and challenges. Many people think that fasting will cause them to be impregnable to the enemy’s assaults when in reality those are times that you can expect to be challenged, when you are at the completion of such a spiritual assignment and transitioning back to a normal schedule and diet. Should you fast 40 days? The fact of the matter is that the most powerful fasts recorded in scripture, that brought tremendous results were more often 1-3 day fasts and not longer than that. Because of the prevalence of performance-based thinking in our approach to God, many people who do fast longer, perhaps up to 40 days are set at a disadvantage because they begin putting more confidence in their successfully act of fasting than they do in the simplicity of prayer and a proper relationship to studying the word of God. If you are not a person of prayer, or do not have a habit of spending time in God’s word, fasting will do little to make your life better or different.
In examining the temptations of the devil against Jesus we may note that continually the enemy says to Him “if you are the son of God…” He wasn’t tempting Jesus for instance to eat something because Jesus fast was at an end and it was perfectly fine for Him to eat something. Satan was tempting Him to validate His sonship based upon something outward, such as commanding stones to be made bread.
Have you ever been challenged by someone saying “if you call yourself a Christian, then do thus and so…” That is what the enemy is doing here. Jesus knew who He was and didn’t have to prove it outwardly. You should know who you are in God by your own inner relationship with Him through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and not by any outward thing, success, powerful ministry, or what others think of you.
In answering the enemy Jesus says that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. What does this mean? It gives indication to us as to the personal ethic that Jesus lived by in His earth life. He wasn’t living out a set of principles or values based on moral principles or the expectations of men. In John 5:19 Jesus makes a similar statement when He declares that He only does what He sees the Father do and makes His judgments by what He hears the Father speak. This is the opposite of Adam and Eve in the fall who wanted to be like God, independent of God.
They partook of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, wanting to experience these things for themselves and make up their own mind. They knew right from wrong before they ate of the tree of disobedience. Anything that God said to them was right and anything contrary to that was to be forsaken. They weren’t making assessments, they were simply responding to the instructions and leadings of a loving Father. We are not called to live out our lives according to an independence sense of spiritual truth based on principles extracted from our understanding of the word of God. We are called rather as Jesus, to live our lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God with the written word of God as our comparator to assure us that we have indeed heard the voice of God because what we hear agrees with His word.
Then in verse 5 the devil shows Jesus the kingdoms of the world and promises to give Him power and glory. The temptation was not enticing Jesus with temporal power. He was already powerful and He knew it. The temptation was to somehow perceive within Himself that these things were not already His.
He was the personification of the glory of God. The glory of God was in Him, in His person. He was already powerful, already filled with the glory. The enemy is tempting Jesus to see Himself other than in the light of His relationship with God. When you feel powerless, when you feel disenfranchised from the grace of God that is the same temptation that Jesus faced here. The fullness of the Godhead bodily lives on the inside of you. Christ in you is your hope of Glory. Religion and the world tries to get you to look outwardly for the confirmation of your sense of self but in Luke 17:20-21 Jesus said that when men say “lo here” or “lo there” regarding the kingdom that we are to “go not out” because whatever Jesus considered the kingdom to be, it was in the heart and not in any outward thing. Our dependence thing is inward and not outward, on religious infrastructure, our church, or any particular ministry or anointing.
There are people that will uproot their whole lives and spend 10’s of 1000’s of dollars following after man who wouldn’t spend 10 cents on their own spiritual enrichment because they haven’t learned the lesson of the temptation of Jesus. Learn to see the kingdom within for any outward dependence no matter how seemingly godly is nothing more than idolatry.
The enemy then nakedly tempts Jesus in v. 9 to again prove who He is by throwing Himself of a high place in the temple so that angels would come and rescue Him. The answer Jesus gives is that “you shall not tempt the Lord thy God…” I think we don’t understand the depth of what Jesus is saying. Remember that Jesus is God in the flesh. Satan wasn’t just tempting a man, he was tempting God Himself, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is saying to the devil – and reminding the devil who He is. He was in essence saying to the devil “you don’t know who you are messing with!” That is how we are to respond to all temptation. Remind the enemy who he is up against when he comes against you.
After Jesus vanquishes the enemy in the wilderness, He returns to Galilees and began to preach in the area with great authority. In verse 16 He goes to Nazareth, to His home synagogue and standing up before His friends and neighbors, declares the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2. They were immediately offended at Him, saying among themselves “isn’t this Joseph’s son…” If your life is going to count for anything in the kingdom you will face this at some point. You will stand up in the call of God on your life and your friends and family will say – “who do you think you are?”
Luk 4:23-44 KJV]
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. 35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. 36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word [is] this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. 37 And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about. 38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. 40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. 41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking [them] suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. 42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. 43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. 44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.
After being scorned in His home synagogue, Jesus reproves the crowd, saying that a prophet (a messenger from God) is accepted but not among His own kin and country. Many pastors and leaders function under very powerful and great anointing, but because they are familiar to their people the crowd yawns and says “yes that’s our pastor, he ministers like that …” but if someone comes in from the outside even with a lesser anointing the people rave and carry on because they have made the same mistake Jesus’ home town made. The reason for this comes from the fall. Adam and Eve wanted something outside themselves, they were hungering for what the Old Testament calls “strange flesh…” Churches do the same thing and they call it revival. A minister comes in with a different message and a different anointing and the people get excited but they haven’t esteemed those in their very midst that are anointed by God and empowered by God because they are chasing after and longing after what amounts to “strange flesh” and pronouncing the fulfillment of their titillation with a new message, or a new minister as an outpouring of God’s spirit when it is anything but!
The people in verse 29 are offended at Jesus and attempt to kill Him but He evades out of their presence and verse 30 says “went His way…” He didn’t stay and argue with them. Many times, anointed and called ministers fail to launch right here. They have ungodly soul ties with friends and family and just can’t get over their rejection. They fight and fume and enter into confrontation instead of just shaking the dust off their feet and move on. It hurts when people you know don’t take you seriously. Don’t linger there for it will destroy your ministry before you ever have one. Go ahead and obey God and leave behind those people who don’t take you seriously and don’t look at you the way God looks at you. They will come around sooner or later and claim they were with you all along! Don’t fall for that either. Just keep obeying God and let everyone else just cope with your call!
In verse 33 we see Jesus in Capernaum dealing with a demon possessed man, in the grip of an unclean spirit. Interesting that the demonize man was not in the Roman bathhouse or some other sinful place. If you want to find the demon possessed person go to the local church, they are filled with them. That is where the enemy sets up camp, because he already has everyone else in his grip. The people in the synagogue didn’t know they had a demonized man in their midst but when Jesus showed up in the power of the Spirit the man manifested. Who is demonized at your church? It is the one who speaks up complaining and resisting when someone with an anointing shows up. It could be your pastor, it could be the person next to you in the pew. It could be you yourself if you have that visceral response of rejecting a ministry as an out of hand response because something about them just sets you off. The demonized man accuses Jesus of coming to destroy things in the synagogue. Isn’t that the pious complaint of people against the move of God? They say they don’t want that move of God in their church because they think people will get hurt, or the church will be destroyed. They claim to be protecting the sheep but in reality they are possessed by and controlled by an unclean spirit and need to be delivered.
Jesus doesn’t conduct an interview with the devil. He just casts him out. Many so-called deliverance ministers want to conduct interviews with so-called demonized people before they cast them out. On the west coast there is a well-known deliverance minister who trains others to allegedly cast out devils by playing recordings of what demons say. Isn’t that what they call “doctrines of devils”? Listen, if the demon doesn’t spontaneously manifest in front of you then he is above your pay grade, maybe you need to go fast and pray. If the demon does manifest, don’t sit down and have a tea party with him, just say “shut up and come out!” This is what Jesus does and the fame of Him goes all around the area.
In verse 38 Jesus comes to Simon’s house and finds Simon Peter’s mother in law sick with a fever. Notice what Jesus does next: He speaks to the fever like it had ears to hear Him. Jesus often speaks to inanimate objects and other such things – expecting them to respond to His word of command. We need to do what Jesus did. We don’t get results because we see people that are sick and want to have a prayer meeting. No, we don’t want to have a prayer meeting. If you want to have a prayer meeting when you encounter the sick, realize it is too late for that. If you haven’t already been praying, then you won’t have the power to pray over the sick and see them healed. Jesus rebuked the fever. That word there means He “admonished it sharply” like a puppy who isn’t poddy trained yet! When we learn to pray for the sick the way Jesus prayed for the sick then we will get the results Jesus got.
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