Luke 4 introduction temptation of jesus manuscriptDocument Transcript
THE INVINCIBILITY OF THE MESSIAH (MacArhtur's)
LUKE CHAPTER FOUR
TODAY VS. 1-2
Pastor/Teacher Charles e Whisnant,
Satan's Suggestions and Jesus' Scriptural Answer
What is the Specific Significance of the Three Temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness?
Satan Tried to Tempt Jesus Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4
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.
Now we come to the fourth chapter of Luke, we have spend a good deal of time on the coming
of the Son of God, we have seen how the Angel prepared the coming of the Son of God. And
we have seen the birth of Christ. We looked at the forerunner of Jesus: John the Baptizer, we
looked at the Baptism of Jesus. We have certainly learned that this man Jesus was the promised
Messiah, who will fulfill the role of the Lord's suffering Servant through His sacrificial death.
And then over the last few weeks we took a look at the genealogy from Mary's side of the
And we learn that the writer Luke is showing that Jesus is obedient to the will of God. And that
Jesus was obedient to the law of God and that Jesus was the perfect man.
Now we see in these first 13 verse the final event of Jesus before He really begins His public
ministry. Here we are going to learn the final preparation to enter into ministry and as the Son
Now we are going to learn how how Jesus is the savior of the world. Jesus is going to have to
defeat the devil. Jesus must be able to take on the devil and come out on top.
The devil created this mess that we have in the world, and that started with Adam and Eve. Sin
entered into the world. And sin has entered into all aspect of the world, and humanity. All
humanity has been damned, and the devil has seemed to have won.
Sometimes you may think that the devil and his crowd have just about taken full rule over this
This sin problem has produce death. Adam and Eve would have never died. But sin caused
death, and the death physically as well as spiritually.
Now if there is to be one to come and break the power of sin and conquer evil and defeat Satan;
Genesis 3:15, then Luke is going to show that this person is Jesus Christ.
And Jesus is going to have to demonstrate that He can defeat the devil. And that is what Luke
Jesus now is about 33 years old and now is going to be entering into ministry. His first stop is
going to be in the wilderness.
You go into ministry as a young man, and of course your first encounter a test to see if you can
handle ministry. (Seminary was a test, working as a youth pastor was a test)
So Jesus is going to show how to conquer sin and Satan.
John MacArthur said this:
This is what ultimately has to be known. If we are to trust our time and eternity to
Christ, if we are to trust Him as our Savior and the forgiver of our sins, if we are to trust
Him to overpower sin and overpower death and overpower the devil and overpower hell
and set us free and bring us to heaven, then we need to know that He has the ability to
conquer Satan in the most intense confrontation.
Jesus victory over Satan shows Him to be the righteous Son of God and shows us how to
There is always it seems this challenged as one enters into ministry.
Luke want you and I to see that Jesus is the ideal human being. Luke wants us to see that Jesus
is one who obey the will of His father. And that Jesus is the true Servant of God and that He
will accomplish the task that He has come to earth to do.
And that tasks as we have said is to conquer the enemy of God and the enemy of our souls.
From Genesis to now, Adam to Isaiah knew that the devil was the one who needed to be set
straight. They knew that the devil was the reason that the whole human race was damned. And
now the question is can Jesus overturn the destruction that Satan causes.
In order to save the world, Jesus Christ must succeed where both Adam – and Israel –
Now let me mention this about Adam and Jesus. Jesus was a man like Adam. He was an actual son of
Adam as we saw last time. Son of God, that is Jesus was fully human. He not only look like a man, He
not only acted like a man, He was man.
Well what did he look like? We do not know. We only have an artist though on that. But usually I would
say they are wrong in how He looked. I also believe that they show Mary and Joseph wrong too. But the
issue is not how he looked, and personally we are to worship Christ in Spirit. I don't like necessary to
have a picture of Jesus. (another sermon)
THE HUMANITY OF JESUS AS MAN
But know this He was 100% human Hebrews 2:17 "He had to be made like His brethren in all
From the the time He was in the womb of Mary Jesus was human. He lived as an infant, then as
a toddler, as a child and as a young teenager (they did not call them teenagers then) and then an
young adult. And He grew in wisdom and stature in favor with God and man.
Jesus was God from the beginning. But it seems that Jesus sat aside the exercise of His
deity and He submitted Himself to the Father's will and the Spirit's power
THE KIND OF TEMPTATION THAT JESUS HAD
So Jesus had divine powers and could have done a lot of things, but He submitted Himself to be true
humanness and He allowed the Spirit of God to work His work through Him.
Jesus as a child grew up like any other child and He did grow up been exposed to temptation. We
read in Hebrews that He was in all points tempted like as we are. Thus in His early years He was
tempted. Just like all of us were growing up.
Let me point out, the temptation was was on the outside, the evil that came to Jesus stayed on the
outside. And of course that is hard to understand.
With you and I temptation starts on the inside of our spirit. But Jesus, there was nothing in Him that
could internalize that temptation and work it work doing wrong.
First in Jesus the was sin in Him, Jesus could see maybe things that we see and not lust after them. He
could not sin. Because He was human did not mean that He had a sinful nature, He did not. Thus while
he could see things that human might be tempted to do, He could not internalize the temptation.
James 1 says, “Sin happens when lust conceives and brings forth sin.” Well with Jesus he could not
internalize that. But be sure that He was daily hit on the outside and He was without capacity to think to
do those things by some evil motive or intent in His heart into an actual sin.
This topic is one that I would like to get into more deeply Charles e Whisnant.
What we need to see this this: While Jesus could heard Satan, He could see him, He could see
the cleverness of it and He could see the world around Him and see the all what was going one
in the world and worldliness But the difference is He could not internalize it.
First there has to be this evil nature in us (as it is) and then we see the temptation and then we
yield to the evil that the temptation brings. Jesus who was holy could not do that.
While Adam had within him the ability to internalize temptation and them turn it into sin. Jesus
Jesus said in John 14:30 “ I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is
coming, and he has nothing in Me;” The ruler of the world, Satan, is after Me but he has
nothing in Me, he has nothing in Me, he has nothing on Me, he can lay no claim on Me, he
can make no justifiable charge of sin."
But he has nothing in me2. Observe here, Matthew Henry:
1. The prospect Christ had of an approaching conflict, not only with men, but with the
;powers of darkness. The devil had set upon him with his temptations (Matt. 4:1-11:
Luke 4:1-13), had offered him the kingdoms of this world, if he would hold them as
tributary to him, with an eye to which Christ calls him, in disdain, the prince of this
world. Then the devil departed from him for a season; “But now,” says Christ, “I see him
rallying again, preparing to make a furious onset, and so to gain by terrors that which he
could not gain by allurements;” to frighten from his undertaking, when he could not
entice from it. Note, The foresight of a temptation gives us great advantage in our
resistance of it; for, being fore-warned, we should be fore-armed. While we are here, we
may see Satan continually coming against us, and ought therefore to be always upon our
2. The assurance he had of good success in the conflict: He hath nothing in me, ouk
echei ouden—He hath nothing at all.
There was no guilt in Christ to give authority to the prince of this world in his
terrors. The devil is said to have the power of death (Heb. 2:14); the Jews called him the
angel of death, as an executioner. Now Christ having done no evil, Satan had no legal
power against him, and therefore, though he prevailed to crucify him, he could not
prevail to terrify him; though he hurried him to death, yet not to despair. When Satan
comes to disquiet us, he has something in us to perplex us with, for we have all sinned;
but, when he would disturb Christ, he found no occasion against him.
There was no corruption in Christ, to give advantage to the prince of this world
in his temptations. He could not crush his undertaking by drawing him to sin, because
there was nothing sinful in him, nothing irregular for his temptations to fasten upon, no
tinder for him to strike fire into; such was the spotless purity of his nature that he was
above the possibility of sinning. The more Satan’s interest in us is crushed and decays,
2 Matthew Henry http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2014:30&version=NASB
the more comfortably may we expect sufferings and death.
Be sure of this, if Satan could have brought again Jesus some accusation against Jesus He would
have. But satan had nothing that he could bring legitimately against Jesus. There was no
justifiable charge of sin that Satan could bring against Jesus the Son of God. AMEN
JESUS WAS DEITY:
There are groups who do not believe Jesus is deity: Mormons and the Jehovah's Witness don't
believe He is. Liberals don't.
But there is one group that does: Demons and the Devil, they knew He was. They knew who
they were dealing with: the Son of God. And the old demon Satan knew what he need to
accomplish with the temptation. Satan knew if he could somehow in a subtle, and powerful and
clever way put pressure on Jesus that would lead Jesus to overturn His holiness and somehow
cause Him into sin. Why? Well if Jesus did that, that would destroy Jesus ability to save sinners
and most of all to destroy him (devil),
THE FIRST ADAM AND THE SECOND ADAM
The first Adam (what was his last name) was confronted and fell. Jesus was attack and was not.
Adam was sinless at first, and so was Jesus. But as we know Adam fell and Jesus did not. As
Adam sin he then put the whole race into sin and damnation. Whereas Jesus on the other hand
lifts sinners out of damnation. Adam was not able to defeat sin and Jesus was.
He was a true Son of Adam then, truly human, and as a man His Father could say of Him, "This
is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Thirty years He's lived, He's never thought, said,
or done anything that didn't please Me. That is His perfection." He is then going to be attacked,
as it were, by Satan and where the first Adam fell, He triumphs.
Why did Adam fail and Jesus did not? Jesus was God/Man, Adam was just man. And
Jesus `humanity was protect from sin by His deity.
THE CONTRASE BETWEEN ADAM'S ENVIROMENT AND JESUS ENVIROMENT
1. Adam lived in a sinless world, and a sinless environment. Jesus lived in a sinful world.
2. Adam never had known any temptation. Adam fell at the first temptation. Which is to say too
that Adam had never been tempted before to break down his resistance. Jesus had 30 years to
be attracted and 40 days of temptation before the final three came. Which was designed to
break Him down.
3. Adam had perfect strength. He was fed by all that was in the garden. Jesus had just come
through 40 days of no food to eat.
4. Adam had everything that was possible to enjoy and never knew what it meant to be hungry.
And all authority and his own little kingdom. Jesus had nothing, no food, no authority, no
kingdom, he was alone.
5. Adam had no reason to think that he need to be test to see if he loved God and if God really
loved him. Adam just wondered around this Garden of Eden. But Jesus had nothing like that,
he had a desert to wonder around in for 40 days. And then the devil tried to push Him to test
God to see if God really loved Him.
JESUS DID NOT FAIL. ADAM DID.
This event here in Luke 4 was so critical to our salvation. It is not just one event that Luke puts
in his gospel, but the very core of our salvation. Jesus, if He could not conquer this temptation He
certainly could not save us from sin and death and hell.
Thus the statement:
So where the first man Adam failed, in Adam we all died, the second man succeeds, in
Christ we all live.
THE IMPECCABILITY OF JESUS (John Walvoord point of view)
Orthodox theologians generally agree that Jesus Christ never committed any sin. This seems to
be a natural corollary to His deity and an absolute prerequisite to His work of substitution on the
cross. Any affirmation of moral failure on the part of Christ requires a doctrine of His person
which would deny in some sense His absolute deity.
A question has been raised, however, by orthodox theologians whether the sinlessness of Christ
was the same as that of Adam before the fall or whether it possessed a peculiar character
because of the presence of the divine nature. In a word, could the Son of God be tempted as
Adam was tempted and could He have sinned as Adam sinned? While most orthodox
theologians agree that Christ could be tempted because of the presence of a human nature, a
division occurs on the question as to whether being tempted He could sin3.
Definition of Impeccability
The point of view that Christ could sin is designated by the term peccability, and the doctrine
that Christ could not sin is referred to as the impeccability of Christ. Adherents of both views
agree that Christ did not sin, but those who affirm peccability hold that He could have sinned,
whereas those who declare the impeccability of Christ believe that He could not sin due to the
presence of the divine nature.
The Proof of the Impeccability of Christ
The ultimate solution of the problem of the impeccability of Christ rests in the relationship of
the divine and human natures. It is generally agreed that each of the natures, the divine and the
human, had its own will in the sense of desire. The ultimate decision of the person, however, in
the sense of sovereign will was always in harmony with the decision of the divine nature. The
relation of this to the problem of impeccability is obvious. The human nature, because it is
temptable, might desire to do that which is contrary to the will of God. In the person of Christ,
however, the human will was always subservient to the divine will and could never act
independently. Inasmuch as all agree that the divine will of God could not sin, this quality then
3 https://bible.org/seriespage/person-and-work-christ-%E2%80%94-part-vii-impeccability-christ John F. walvoord
becomes the quality of the person and Christ becomes impeccable.
Well read the article for a more full detail of this issue at hand.
JESUS HAD NO CAPACTIY TO SIN: In fact Jesus had nothing in Him that could turn anything
into sin. He could not take something he saw outside Himself and because of lust on the inside turn it
into sin, that was impossible because there was nothing in him that could do that.
In Luke 1 verse 35 when a child was to be born, the child is called "that holy offspring...that
holy offspring." This is not a child like any other child. And by the age, as I said, of 30 the
Father can say, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Thirty years He had never
sinned. If He could have, He would have. He didn't because He couldn't. Second Corinthians
5:21, God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us," right? He knew no sin. He knew no sin.
He had no capacity to internalize temptation and transport it into sin. He committed no sin, 1
Peter 2:22. Hebrews 7:26, "He is holy...He is undefiled, He is separate from sinners." He did not
sin, He could not sin. That is obvious. MacArhtur's point of view:
Well then, some theologians would say, "Well if He couldn't sin then temptation wasn't
real." That's not true. That's not true. You don't always sin when you're tempted which
means you could be tempted and not sin. You could be hit with some strong temptation
and you can be victorious and walk away and not sin and thank God and praise God and
be triumphant. As Christians we do that. That doesn't mean it wasn't a temptation. The
fact that Jesus couldn't sin doesn't mean He couldn't be tempted. Look, Satan tempted
Him, he tempted Him personally. The devil came and tempted Him personally. Demons
came and tempted Him personally. Demons working in the wicked leaders of Israel and
others came after Jesus, He was exposed to sin all around Him as the system of Satan
worked its way through human depravity. It came at Him on the outside, He saw it all.
He understood it in His mind but He had no internal capacity to turn that into a sin. But
it doesn't mean that He didn't feel or experience the reality of that temptation.
Every temptation that came to Jesus was a temptation from the outside, no solicitation of
evil ever came up in the inside because there was nothing there to generate that. Now in
that sense He's not like us. He is fully human but you can be fully human and perfect, as
Adam was. In the case of Jesus, He's fully human and perfect and His perfection as a
man is protected by His deity which is infinitely holy. It doesn't mean the temptations
weren't real, what it really means is the temptations were stronger and stronger because
He never caved in. I mean, if you're standing there and somebody is trying to push you
over and you brace yourself and you keep standing and they keep pushing and keep
pushing, at some point you fall over, you're never going to know where their full
strength was. But if you never get in...if you never give in, if you stand there you will get
the full fury of everything they have to offer until they finally run out of energy and back
away. That's exactly what happens in the case of Jesus. He is tempted and the temptation
goes to its maximum capacity every time because He never budges. So it isn't that He
didn't feel the temptation, it is that He felt it in its fullest.
Westcott(?) says, "Sympathy with the sinner in his trial does not depend on the
experience of sin, but on the experience of the strength of the temptation to sin
which only the sinless can know in its full intensity," end quote.
That's exactly right. Only the sinless one knows how intense the temptation can be,
every temptation, because he never gives in and finally the temptation having exhausted
Jesus never gave in so at the end He experienced the full force of every temptation to its
maximum level, but never internalized sin. So here we find in our text the Son of God
being tested and His perfect holy righteousness which the angel said was true, "That
holy offspring," which the Father said was true, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am
well pleased," is here proven to be true in a battle with sin and the devil. And the
conclusion of this is that Jesus is qualified to be our Satan conqueror. Through the
temptations He demonstrates His qualification.
The Impeccability of Christ by Arthur W. Pink
We are living in a world of sin, and the fearful havoc it has wrought is evident on every side.
How refreshing, then, to fix our gaze upon One who is immaculately holy, and who passed
through this scene unspoilt by its evil. Such was the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God
incarnate. For thirty-three years He was in immediate contact with sin, yet He was never, to the
slightest degree, contaminated. He touched the leper, yet was not defiled, even ceremonially.
Just as the rays of the sun shine upon a stagnant pool without being sullied thereby, so Christ
was unaffected by the iniquity which surrounded Him. He ‘did no sin’ (1 Pet. 2:22), ‘in Him is
no sin’ (1 John 3:5 and contrast 1:8), He ‘knew no sin’ (2 Cor. 5:21), He was ‘without sin’ (Heb.
4:15). He was ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners’ (Heb. 7:26).
But not only was Christ sinless, He was impeccable, that is, incapable of sinning. No
attempt to set forth the doctrine of His wondrous and peerless person would be complete,
without considering this blessed perfection. Sad indeed is it to behold the widespread ignorance
thereon today, and sadder still to hear and read this precious truth denied. The last Adam
differed from the first Adam in His impeccability. Christ was not only able to overcome
temptation, but He was unable to be overcome by it. Necessarily so, for He was ‘the Almighty’
(Rev. 1:8). True, Christ was man, but He was the God-man, and as such, absolute Master and
Lord of all things. Being Master of all things—as His dominion over the winds and waves,
diseases and death, clearly demonstrated—it was impossible that anything should master Him.
The immutability of Christ proves His impeccability, or incapability of sinning: ‘Jesus
Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever’ (Heb. 13:8). Because He was not susceptible
to any change, it was impossible for the incarnate Son of God to sin. Herein we behold again
His uniqueness. Sinless angels fell, sinless Adam fell: they were but creatures, and creaturehood
and mutability are, really, correlative terms. But was not the manhood of Christ created? Yes,
but it was never placed on probation, it never had a separate existence. From the very first
moment of its conception in the virgin’s womb, the humanity of Christ was taken into union
with His Deity; and therefore could not sin.
The omnipotence of Christ proves His impeccability. That the Lord Jesus, even during the
days of His humiliation, was possessed of omnipotence, is clear from many passages of
Scripture. ‘What things so ever He (the Father) doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise….For
as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will’
(John 5:19, 21). When we say that Christ possessed omnipotence during His earthly sojourn, we
do not mean that He was so endowed by the Holy Spirit, but that He was essentially, inherently,
personally, omnipotent. Now to speak of an omnipotent person yielding to sin, is a contradiction
in terms. All temptation to sin must proceed from a created being, and hence it is a finite power;
but impossible is it for a finite power to overcome omnipotency.
The constitution of Christ’s person proves His impeccability. In Him were united (in a manner
altogether incomprehensible to created intelligence) the Divine and the human natures. Now
‘God cannot be tempted with evil’ (James 1:13); ‘it is impossible for God to lie’ (Heb. 6:18).
And Christ was ‘God manifest in flesh’ (1 Tim. 3:16); ‘Immanuel’—God with us (Matt. 1:23).
Personality centered not in His humanity. Christ was a Divine person, who had been ‘made in
the likeness of men’ (Phil. 2:7). Utterly impossible was it, then, for the God-man to sin. To
affirm the contrary, is to be guilty of the most awful blasphemy. It is irreverent speculation to
discuss what the human nature of Christ might have done if it had been alone. It never was
alone; it never had a separate existence; from the first moment of its being it was united to a
It is objected to the truth of Christ’s impeccability that it is inconsistent with His temptability. A
person who cannot sin, it is argued, cannot be tempted to sin. As well might one reason that
because an army cannot be defeated, it cannot be attacked. ‘Temptability depends upon the
constitutional susceptibility, while impeccability depends upon the will. So far as His natural
susceptibility, both physical and mental, was concerned, Jesus Christ was open to all forms of
human temptation, excepting those that spring out of lust, or corruption of nature. But His
peccability, or the possibility of being overcome by these temptations, would depend upon the
amount of voluntary resistance which He was able to bring to bear against them. Those
temptations were very strong, but if the self-determination of His holy will was stronger than
they, then they could not induce Him to sin, and He would be impeccable. And yet plainly He
would be temptable’ (W.G. Shedd, 1889).
Probably there were many reasons why God ordained that His incarnate Son should be tempted
by men, by the Devil, by circumstances. One of these was to demonstrate His impeccability.
Throw a lighted match into a barrel of gunpowder, and there will be an explosion; throw it into
a barrel of water, and the match will be quenched. This, in a very crude way, may be taken to
illustrate the difference between Satan’s tempting us and his tempting of the God-man. In us,
there is that which is susceptible to his ‘fiery darts’; but the Holy One could say, ‘The prince of
this world cometh and hath nothing in Me’ (John 14:30). The Lord Jesus was exposed to a far
more severe testing and trying than the first Adam was, in order to make manifest His mighty
power of resistance.
‘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, without sin’ (Heb. 4:15). ‘This text teaches
that the temptations of Christ were ‘without sin’ in their source and nature, and not
merely, as the passage is sometimes explained, that they were ‘without sin’ in their result.
The meaning is not, that our Lord was tempted in every respect exactly as fallen man isby inward lust, as well as by other temptations—only He did not outwardly yield to any
temptation; but that He was tempted in every way that man is, excepting by that class of
temptations that are sinful, because originating in evil and forbidden desire.
‘The fact that Christ was almighty and victorious in His resistance does not unfit Him to
be an example for imitation to a weak and sorely-tempted believer. Because our Lord
overcame His temptations, it does not follow that His conflict and success was an easy
one for Him. His victory cost Him tears and blood. ‘His visage was so marred more than
any man’ (Isa. 52:14). There was the ‘travail of His soul’ (Isa. 52:14). In the struggle He
cried, ‘O My Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from Me’ (Matt. 26:39). Because an
army is victorious, it by no means follows that the victory was a cheap one’ (W.G.T.
One other objection may, perhaps, be noted, though we hesitate to defile these pages by even
transcribing the filthy exhalations of the carnal mind. If the humanity of Christ was, because of
its union to His Divine person, incapable of sinning, then in view of its being Divinely sustained
how could it hunger and thirst, suffer and die? and seeing it did, then why was it incapable of
yielding to temptation? It is sufficient answer to this impious question to point out that, while
the Mediator was commissioned to die (John 10:18), He was not commissioned to sin. The
human nature of Christ was permitted to function freely and normally: hence it wearied and
wept; but to sin is not a normal act of human nature.
To be the Redeemer of His people, Christ must be ‘mighty to save, travelling in the greatness of
His strength’ (Isa. 63:1). He must have power to overcome all temptation when it assails His
person, in order that He may be able to ‘succour them that are tempted’ (Heb. 2:18). Here then
is one of the solid planks in that platform on which the faith of the Christian rests: because the
Lord Jesus is Almighty, having absolute power over sin, the feeble and sorely-tried saint may
turn to Him in implicit confidence, seeking His efficacious aid. Only He who triumphed over
sin, both in life and in death, can save me from my sins.
Taken from Studies in the Scriptures, Sept. 1932.4
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by
the Spirit in the wilderness
Full of the Holy Spirit (πληρης πνευματος αγιου — pleres pneumatos hagiou). An evident
allusion to the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism (Luke 3:21.). The distinctness
of the Persons in the Trinity is shown there, but with evident unity. One recalls also Luke‘s
account of the overshadowing of Mary by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). Matthew 4:1 says that
“Jesus was led of the Spirit” while Mark 1:12 states that “the Spirit driveth him forth” which see
note for discussion. “Jesus had been endowed with supernatural power; and He was tempted to
make use of it in furthering his own interests without regard to the Father‘s will” (Plummer).
Returned from the Jordan
Was (around) led by the Spirit (ηγετο εν τοι πνευματι — egeto en toi pneumati). Imperfect passive,
continuously led. Εν — En may be the instrumental use as often, for Matthew 4:1 has here υπο — hupo
of direct agency. But Matthew has the aorist passive ανηχτη — anechthe which may be ingressive as he
has εις την ερημον — eis ten eremon (into the wilderness) while Luke has εν τωι ερημωι — en toi
eremoi (in the wilderness). At any rate Luke affirms that Jesus was now continuously under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit. Hence in this same sentence he mentions the Spirit twice.
During the forty days (ημερας τεσσερακοντα — hemeras tesserakonta). Accusative of duration of time,
to be connected with “led” not with “tempted.” He was led in the Spirit during these forty days (cf.
Deuteronomy 8:2, forty years). The words are amphibolous also in Mark 1:13. Matthew 4:2 seems to
imply that the three recorded temptations came at the close of the fasting for forty days. That can be
true and yet what Luke states be true also. These three may be merely specimens and so “representative
of the struggle which continued throughout the whole period” (Plummer).
for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during
those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry
for forty days
There is a parallel between the Israelite wandering in the wilderness. They were in the Sinai Desert 40
years before going in to Canaan. And they were tested to see if they would follow God (Deuteronomy
8:2) They were prepared through these tests of loyalty and hardship for the tasks that lay before them.
Being tempted (πειραζομενος — peirazomenos). Present passive participle and naturally parallel with
the imperfect passive ηγετο — egeto (was led) in Luke 4:1. This is another instance of poor verse
division which should have come at the end of the sentence. See note on Matthew 4:1; note on Mark
1:13 for the words “tempt” and “devil.” The devil challenged the Son of man though also the Son of
God. It was a contest between Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, and the slanderer of men. The devil had
won with Adam and Eve. He has hopes of triumph over Jesus. The story of this conflict is given only in
Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13. There is a mere mention of it in Mark 1:12. So then here is a specimen
of the Logia of Jesus (Q), a non-Markan portion of Matthew and Luke, the earliest document about
Christ. The narrative could come ultimately only from Christ himself. It is noteworthy that it bears all
the marks of the high conception of Jesus as the Son of God found in the Gospel of John and in Paul
and Hebrews, the rest of the New Testament in fact, for Mark, Matthew, Luke, Acts, Peter, and Jude
follow in this same strain. The point is that modern criticism has revealed the Messianic consciousness
of Jesus as God‘s Son at his Baptism and in his Temptations at the very beginning of his ministry and
in the oldest known documents about Christ (The Logia, Mark‘s Gospel).
While Satan was the agent, God used them not only in the sense of “To tempt” but “to try” or “test
one's character” (Psalms 26:2; John 6:6; Hebrews 11:17; 2 Corinthians 13:5 and Revelation 2:2)
He did eat nothing (ουκ επαγεν ουδεν — ouk ephagen ouden). Second aorist (constative) active
indicative of the defective verb εστιω — esthio Mark does not give the fast. Matthew 4:2 has the aorist
active participle νηστευσας — nesteusas which usually means a religious fast for purposes of devotion.
That idea is not excluded by Luke‘s words. The entrance of Jesus upon his Messianic ministry was a fit
time for this solemn and intense consecration. This mental and spiritual strain would naturally take
away the appetite and there was probably nothing at hand to eat. The weakness from the absence of
food gave the devil his special opportunity to tempt Jesus which he promptly seized.
When they were completed (συντελεστεισων αυτων — suntelestheison auton). Genitive absolute with
the first aorist passive participle feminine plural because εμερων — hemeron (days) is feminine.
According to Luke the hunger (επεινασεν — epeinasen became hungry, ingressive aorist active
indicative) came at the close of the forty days as in Matthew 4:2.
And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to
And the devil said to Him,
If you are
The Son of God (υιος του τεου — huios tou theou). No article as in Matthew 4:3. So refers to the
relationship as Son of God rather than to the office of Messiah. Manifest reference to the words of the
Father in Luke 3:22. Condition of the first class as in Matthew. The devil assumes that Jesus is Son of
This stone (τωι λιτωι τουτωι — toi lithoi toutoi). Perhaps pointing to a particular round stone that
looked in shape and size like a loaf of bread. Stanley (Sinai and Palestine, p. 154) on Mt. Carmel found
crystallizations of stones called “Elijah‘s melons.” The hunger of Jesus opened the way for the diabolic
suggestion designed to inspire doubt in Jesus toward his Father. Matthew has “these stones.”
Bread (αρτος — artos). Better “loaf.” For discussion of this first temptation, see note on Matthew 4:3.
Jesus felt the force of each of the temptations without yielding at all to the sin involved. See discussion
on Matthew also for reality of the devil and the objective and subjective elements in the temptations.
Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 in reply to the devil.
Verse 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN
SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD
And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a
moment of time.
The world (της οικουμενης — tes oikoumenes). The inhabited world. In Matthew 4:8 it is του κοσμου
— tou kosmou a moment of time (εν στιγμηι χρονου — en stigmei chronou). Only in Luke and the word
στιγμη — stigme nowhere else in the N.T. (from στιζω — stizo to prick, or puncture), a point or dot. In
Demosthenes, Aristotle, Plutarch. Like our “second” of time or tick of the clock. This panorama of all
the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them in a moment of time was mental, a great feat of the
imagination (a mental satanic “movie” performance), but this fact in no way discredits the idea of the
actual visible appearance of Satan also. This second temptation in Luke is the third in Matthew‘s order.
Luke‘s order is geographical (wilderness, mountain, Jerusalem). Matthew‘s is climacteric (hunger,
nervous dread, ambition). There is a climax in Luke‘s order also (sense, man, God). There is no way to
tell the actual order.
And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and [c]its
glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I
All this authority (την εχουσιαν ταυτην απασαν — ten exousian tauten hapasan). Matthew 4:9 has “all
these things.” Luke‘s report is more specific.
And the glory of them (και την δοχαν αυτων — kai ten doxan auton). Matthew 4:8 has this in the
statement of what the devil did, not what he said.
For it hath been delivered unto me (οτι εμοι παραδεδοται — hoti emoi paradedotai). Perfect passive
indicative. Satan here claims possession of world power and Jesus does not deny it. It may be due to
man‘s sin and by God‘s permission. Jesus calls Satan the ruler of this world (John 12:31; John 14:30;
To whomsoever I will (οι αν τελω — hoi an thelo). Present subjunctive with αν — an in an indefinite
relative sentence. This audacious claim, if allowed, makes one wonder whether some of the world
rulers are not, consciously or unconsciously, agents of the devil. In several American cities there has
been proven a definite compact between the police and the underworld of crime. But the tone of Satan
here is one of superiority to Jesus in world power. He offers him a share in it on one condition.
Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”
Wilt worship before me (προσκυνησηις ενωπιον εμου — proskuneseis enopion emou). Matthew 4:9
has it more bluntly “worship me.” That is what it really comes to, though in Luke the matter is more
delicately put. It is a condition of the third class (εαν — ean and the subjunctive). Luke has it “thou
therefore if” (συ ουν εαν — su oun ean), in a very emphatic and subtle way. It is the ingressive aorist
(προσκυνησηις — proskuneseis), just bow the knee once up here in my presence. The temptation was
for Jesus to admit Satan‘s authority by this act of prostration (fall down and worship), a recognition of
authority rather than of personal merit.
It shall all be thine (εσται σου πασα — estai sou pasa). Satan offers to turn over all the keys of world
power to Jesus. It was a tremendous grand-stand play, but Jesus saw at once that in that case he would
be the agent of Satan in the rule of the world by bargain and graft instead of the Son of God by nature
and world ruler by conquest over Satan. The heart of Satan‘s program is here laid bare. Jesus here
rejected the Jewish idea of the Messiah as an earthly ruler merely. “He rejects Satan as an ally, and
thereby has him as an implacable enemy” (Plummer.)
Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU
SERVE HIM ONLY.’”
SHALL WORSHIP THE
Thou shalt worship (προσκυνησεις — proskuneseis). Satan used this verb to Jesus who turns it against
him by the quotation from Deuteronomy 6:13. Jesus clearly perceived that one could not worship both
Satan and God. He had to choose whom he would serve. Luke does not give the words, “Get thee
hence, Satan” (Matthew 4:10), for he has another temptation to narrate.
And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the
temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down
Led him (ηγαγεν — egagen). Aorist active indicative of αγω — ago Matthew 4:5 has παραλαμβανει —
paralambanei (dramatic present).
The wing of the temple (το πτερυγιον του ιερου — to pterugion tou hierou). See note on Matthew 4:5.
It is not easy to determine precisely what it was.
From hence (enteuthen). This Luke adds to the words in Matthew, which see.
To guard thee (εντευτεν — tou diaphulaxai se). Not in Matthew 4:6 quoted by Satan from Psalm 91:11,
Psalm 91:12. Satan does not misquote this Psalm, but he misapplies it and makes it mean presumptuous
reliance on God. This compound verb is very old, but occurs here alone in the N.T. and that from the
lxx. Luke repeats του διαπυλαχαι σε — hoti (recitative οτι — hoti after οτι — gegraptai is written) after
this part of the quotation.
for it is written,
‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST
A STONE .’”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU
YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”
SHALL NOT PUT THE
It is said (ειρηται — eiretai). Perfect passive indicative, stands said, a favourite way of quoting
Scripture in the N.T. In Matthew 4:7 we have the usual “it is written” (γεγραπται — gegraptai). Here
Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:16. Each time he uses Deuteronomy against the devil. The lxx is quoted.
It is the volitive future indicative with ουκ — ouk a common prohibition. Jesus points out to the devil
that testing God is not trusting God (Plummer).
When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an
Every temptation (παντα πειρασμον — panta peirasmon). These three kinds exhaust the avenues of
approach (the appetites, the nerves, the ambitions). Satan tried them all. They formed a cycle (Vincent).
Hence “he was in all points tempted like as we are” (Hebrews 4:15). “The enemy tried all his weapons,
and was at all points defeated” (Plummer). Probably all during the forty days the devil tempted him,
but three are representatives of all.
For a season (αχρι καιρου — achri kairou). Until a good opportunity should return, the language
means. We are thus to infer that the devil returned to his attack from time to time. In the Garden of
Gethsemane he tempted Jesus more severely than here. He was here trying to thwart the purpose of
Jesus to go on with his Messianic plans, to trip him at the start. In Gethsemane the devil tried to make
Jesus draw back from the culmination of the Cross with all its agony and horror. The devil attacked
Jesus by the aid of Peter (Mark 8:33), through the Pharisees (John 8:40.), besides Gethsemane (Luke
22:42, Luke 22:53).
Returned (υπεστρεπσεν — hupestrepsen). Luke does not fill in the gap between the temptations in the
wilderness of Judea and the Galilean Ministry. He follows the outline of Mark. It is John‘s Gospel
alone that tells of the year of obscurity (Stalker) in various parts of the Holy Land.
In the power of the Spirit (εν τηι δυναμει του πνευματος — en tei dunamei tou pneumatos). Luke in
these two verses (Luke 4:14) gives a description of the Galilean Ministry with three marked
characteristics (Plummer): the power of the spirit, rapid spread of Christ‘s fame, use of the Jewish
synagogues. Luke often notes the power of the Holy Spirit in the work of Christ. Our word dynamite is
this same word δυναμις — dunamis (power).
A fame (πημη — pheme). An old Greek word found in the N.T. only here and Matthew 9:26. It is from
πημι — phemi to say. Talk ran rapidly in every direction. It assumes the previous ministry as told by