Monday, February 18, 2013

Luke 4 - Temptation, Teaching, Preaching, and Healing

LINK: Luke 4


BACKGROUND


18. Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness: Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13

After His baptism, Jesus was led immediately by the Spirit for a time of testing by Satan in the wilderness which has been traditionally believed to be near Jericho. (Click on the "location" at the end of this post and zoom out for a modern day map of the location. This is a new feature in Blogger that I am very excited about!)

This might be obvious for those of you who have been through the Old Testament portion of the Bible Book Club, but I wanted to point out to everyone the "40 days" motif of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Examples of this motif are seen in Genesis 7:4; Exodus 24:18; 1 Kings 19:8; and Jonah 3:4. Jesus' temptation of 40 days parallels Israel's wanderings and temptation in the wilderness for 40 years. Note He quotes from Deuteronomy which took place during Israel's wilderness wanderings. I thought that was a neat observation!

Also, note that Adam and Eve met Satan in a beautiful garden where all her needs were met, and they lost, allowing sin and death to enter into the world.  Jesus met Satan in a barren wilderness where he had nothing to eat for 40 days, and He won, ushering in eternal life for all who would believe (Col. 2:15; Romans 5:12, 18)!  YAY!

To be tempted comes from the Greek word, peirazein, which in the positive sense means to "try or make proof of." Satan is described here as "the tempter" (Matthew 4:3), and brings out the bad sense of this Greek word, "to entice, solicit, or provoke to sin." This temptation had a dual purpose. The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to have His faith tried, while Satan wanted to entice Him to disobey the Father. As our reading goes on, we will learn more about the ways of Satan.

The temptation closely resembles the temptation of Eve:
1) Appeal to the physical appetite - Satan tempted Eve with the one thing she could not have, even though she had plenty of food from the garden (Genesis 3:1). Satan tempted Jesus to make stones into bread while Jesus was hungry (Matthew and Luke 4:3).  Jesus resists with Scripture: Deuteronomy 8:3 - God's Word is food for life! 
2) Appeal to physical safety - Satan tempted Eve by saying she would not die if she ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:4). Satan tempted Jesus by telling Him, if He is the Son of God and Messiah, nothing could harm Him if He threw Himself from the highest part of the temple (Matthew 4:6 and Luke 4:9).  Satan used the the prophecy from Malachi 3:1. It was a common belief that the Messiah would come from the sky into the temple. He was tempting Jesus to display Himself in the way people expect. This misquoting of Scripture by Satan caused Jesus to counter with more Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:16 - don't test God!  God would display His Son in His way. 
3) Appeal to an easy way to power and glory - Satan tempted Eve by saying she would be "like God, knowing good and evil" and this was why God was withholding this good fruit from her (Genesis 3:5). Satan wanted to give Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:9; Luke 4:6, 7) that God had allowed him to rule (2 Corinthian 4:4, John 12:31; Ephesians 2:2). God had another way for Jesus to become King and that was via the cross. Again, Jesus responded with Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20 - God alone deserves to be worshiped and served.

The score is: Satan 0, Jesus 1.  Stay tuned. The battle has just begun.

30. Jesus preaches in Galilee: Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:14-15
Yet not in Jerusalem and Judah will the light first dawn, but in the northernmost part of the land of Israel, a region which lay in darkness and death at the time Jesus came to fulfill the ancient prophecy, and which even John the Baptist had not been able to reach by his call to repentance. 
(The Gospel According to St. Matthew - An Introduction and Commentary by R.V.G. Tasker, page 56)
This part of the gospels is often called the "Great Galilean Ministry." The major cities included Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Nain, Cana, and Nazareth. Galilee is 60 miles long by 25 miles wide. It is mountainous with fertile valleys and an average temperature of 70 degrees. It was the most beautiful, productive and populous district of Palestine with grain and olive groves. Flora and wildlife still thrive there.  There were a mixture of races from Jew and Gentile backgrounds. 
Galilee of the Gentiles was a choice cradle for the universal Gospel. Jesus liked to mingle in the crowd. He loved human beings and here He found a dense population made up of heterogeneous elements of all types and nationalities. 
(The Christ of the Gospels, p. 115)
One interesting thing: not one prophet had ever come out of Galilee.  

After two days in Samaria, Jesus went to His "own country" of Galilee (John 4:44). Even though he was received, he was not really accepted there (John 2:24-25; 4:48).  In Galilee, he preached the message of the Kingdom. It was at hand, and they needed to repent and believe in the gospel. 

32. Jesus is rejected in Nazareth: Luke 4:16-30

From Cana, Jesus went to his hometown of Nazareth. Luke is the only gospel writer who covers Jesus' rejection in His hometown of Nazareth. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power (dynamei, "spiritual ability") of the Spirit that descended on Him during John's baptism. While everyone praised Him, the news about Jesus spread. He proclaimed Isaiah 61:1-2 in the synagogue of His hometown:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel [good news] to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD. 

When Jesus said the "Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing," He was stating that He was the Messiah ("anointed one"). The hometown people doubted, and Jesus used two instances of miracles of grace to Gentiles when Israel remained in unbelief: 

1) Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-16)

2) Elisha and Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:1-19)

The people became angry because he mentioned Gentiles as being blessed! Jesus always went to the Jews first, but He wanted to make it clear that Gentiles were part of God's plan of salvation too. We will see this in the book of Acts also. 



As a result of Jesus' rejection from Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30), he moved to Capernaum, the home of the official and his family who came to believe in John 4:46-54. This move fulfilled the prophecy quoted in Matthew 4:15-16 (Isaiah 9:1-2). This area was settled by the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali after the conquest during Joshua's time. Capernaum became the "center of operations" for Jesus' ministry. 

34. Jesus teaches with great authority: Mark 1:21-28, Luke 4:31-37 

Capernaum is now to be come Jesus' base of operation since Nazareth had rejected Him. It was also the home of Peter and Andrew (Luke 4:38). The fact that He taught with authority and that an unclean spirit identified him as the Holy One of God is more proof of the deity of Jesus! He also did this on the Sabbath. Stay tuned for fireworks with the religious authorities over the issue of the Sabbath. 

Remember that Mark and Luke are writing for Gentiles. They both specify that it is an evil/unclean spirit. We know that Greeks (whom Luke was writing for) believed in both good and evil ones. 

35. Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law and many others: Matthew 8:14-17, Mark 1:29-34, Luke 4:38-41

The Matthew account points out that these healings were a fulfillment of prophecy in Isaiah 53:4 because he was writing for a Jewish audience. 

Both Mark and Luke indicate the miracle of Peter's mother-in-law occurred right after Jesus teaching with authority and rebuking the unclean spirit. News is spreading and at the end of the Sabbath day, when healing is permissible, people are bringing the sick to him, and demons know who Jesus is even if the people did not yet. 

36. Jesus preaches throughout Galilee:  Mark 1:35-39, Luke 4:42-44, Matthew 4:23-25

By this time, Jesus had a busy ministry schedule, yet He rose in the early morning to pray after His busy day and before another busy day of ministry.


While He performed healing to authenticate Himself Jesus' primary mission was to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. He was the "anointed one" who would proclaim the favorable year of the LORD (Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 61:1-2).

REFLECTION


A couple of years ago, I helped a young lady evaluate patterns in her life experiences.  In high school, she an amazing encounter with God out in the middle of a pasture. She had a calling on her life, but Satan knew her weakness and brought a person into her life who led her down a path that ended terribly. God has used that experience to fuel her current life passion though and has turned it out for good. He has launched her into effective ministry today! (God won!)


The Spirit had descended on Jesus and led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the enemy right before He was on the verge of launching out into a life ministry of preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. Jesus was without sin and could not fall into temptation, but we can, and Satan will name our price!  Like this young lady above, I can trace a significant encounter with God to Satan sweeping in and trying to destroy what God had birthed in me! I see it on my timeline, and it is very clear.  The enemy does not like it when we obey God's call, and he starts working overtime to defeat us.


So, we can take a lesson from Jesus to battle the enemy with Scripture and continue to seek God's face!


APPLICATION


Here is a worksheet to help you evaluate your life experiences:


LIFE EXPERIENCES PHASES




PRAYER


Lord, help us to stay strong against the temptations of the devil. Thank You that our life experiences can be used for Your glory. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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