Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
The Spirit of God led Jesus through the wilderness where He was tempted for forty days. There are three temptations which are recorded in this chapter and while there might have been more lines of dialogue between Jesus and Satan, these three still teach us a lot of things. The devil knows us inside out and knew when Jesus was hungry and went to tempt him.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread. – Luke 4:3
Jesus’ answer was something from which we should all learn. In his hunger, Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob. In hunger, the Israelites cursed Moses and even the God who brought them out of slavery. In his hunger, David tricked the priest of the Lord and ate the Holy Bread.
The devil exactly knew how to go about tempting a man who has been fasting for almost forty days. In his sermons, Jesus always reminds us to not worry about food and other basic necessities. Our Father in heaven, who feeds the sparrows, will feed us too.
What we need to worry about is our spiritual hunger. Do we have the spiritual hunger inside us? God will happily satiate our spiritual hunger too. The Word of God is the living word that will help us at all times and this is what Jesus used too to combat the first temptation.
“I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” – Luke 4:6-7
The second temptation that Jesus faced was the devil trying to tempt Jesus with riches and wealth. Luke records this as the second temptation whereas Matthew places it at number three. It is very easy for us to fall into this temptation. The world in which we are now is very competitive. Everything is measured by material possessions. We all want to possess a lot of wealth. Lot wanted the land which seemed to be more productive. Similarly, we too want to flourish. God blesses us too but what we actually need to know is that our real wealth is in our Father’s house. We need to aim at possessing that wealth and not give in to the temptation of the materialistic possessions of this world. It is easy to say but difficult to do and only God can help us with this, so we need to rely on Him.
The third temptation according to Luke was devil asking Jesus to test God’s love for him.
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.” – Luke 4:9
This seems to me as a temptation of pride of being the Son of God and that the angels are at his disposal. We are the children of God and God will protect us and take care of us but if we use this for our selfish motives and wrong intentions, we will end up hurting God.
The whole point of the devil tempting Jesus was to make Him give in to temptation and ruin the purpose for which Jesus was sent into this world. Jesus was sent for us and lived like one of us. He was equally exposed to temptation like us and was not given any special power to withstand temptation. The extraordinary power that Jesus and each one of us possesses is God by our side. He can guide us through temptations and prevents us falling into sin by providing a way out.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
Similarly, we are also sent into this world to fulfill God’s purpose and have to be careful in every move that we make. The devil is a roaring lion looking to catch us in our weaknesses but if we are strong in God, nothing can tear us away from Him.
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
“Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” – Luke 4:24
Jesus started his ministry in Galilee by teaching in the synagogues. At first, he was well received but when he started proclaiming himself to be the Messiah along with the claim that salvation was available to all, his hometown fans became hostile. The very thought of Gentiles receiving salvation without any hard labor was excruciating for them.
Jesus left Nazareth without performing any miracles there (Matthew 13:58). What a missed opportunity for the town that Jesus grew up in. Jesus cited the examples of the greatest prophets in the history of Israel, to drive home the fact that no messengers of God are accepted in their hometowns.
Today we Christians are becoming like the Nazarenes. While the new believers easily put their faith in God, we find it hard to trust the familiar God of our childhood.
Miracles in Capernaum
Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching because his words had authority. – Luke 4:31-32
The same message was being preached by the same man but in a different town and the people of Capernaum accepted his teaching. Jesus was able to perform extraordinary miracles because of the faith of the people in that town. He drove out impure spirit out of a man in the synagogue and rebuked the fever of Peter’s mother-in-law. All the people were amazed that impure spirits and even sicknesses were obeying Jesus.
At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. – Luke 4:42
Throughout his ministry, Jesus always sought alone time with God. Be it a full-time minister of a mega church or a part-time youth leader or perhaps a missionary working 24X7 for God, our personal time with God should be the most essential part of our day.
- James 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” Why then was Jesus tempted?
- Why did the other Gospel writers not mention the attempted assassination of Jesus in his hometown of Nazareth?