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Wednesday Bible Study
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
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Jesus and the Devil

Luke 4:13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

Repulsed by the sword of the Spirit, the devil left Jesus until an opportune time. Temptations usually come in spasms rather than in streams.

Several additional points should be mentioned in connection with the temptation:

1.  The order in Luke differs from that in Matthew. The second and third temptations are reversed; the reason for this is not clear.

2. In all three cases, the end held out was right enough, but the means of obtaining it was wrong. It is always wrong to obey Satan, to worship him or any other created being. It is wrong to tempt God.

3. The first temptation concerned the body, the second the soul, the third the spirit. They appealed respectively to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

4. The three temptations revolve around three of the strongest drives of human existence—physical appetite, desire for power and possessions, and desire for public recognition. How often disciples are tempted to choose a pathway of comfort and ease, to seek a prominent place in the world, and to gain a high position in the church.

5. In all three temptations, Satan used religious language and thus clothed the temptations with a garb of outward respectability. He even quoted Scripture (vv. 10, 11).

As James Stewart so aptly points out: The study of the temptation narrative illuminates two important points. On the one hand, it proves that temptation is not necessarily sin.

On the other hand, the narrative illuminates the great saying of a later disciple: “In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

It is sometimes suggested that the temptation would have been meaningless if Jesus was not able to sin. The fact is that Jesus is God, and God cannot sin. The Lord Jesus never relinquished any of the attributes of deity. His deity was veiled during His life on earth but it was not and could not be laid aside. Some say that as God He could not sin but as Man He could sin. But He is still both God and Man, and it is unthinkable that He could sin today. The purpose of the temptation was not to see if He would sin but to prove that He could not sin. Only a holy, sinless Man could be our Redeemer.

Luke 4:14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. :15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Between verses 13 and 14 there is a gap of about one year. During this time the Lord ministered in Judea. The only record of this ministry is in John 2–5.

When Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee to begin the second, year of His public ministry, His fame spread through all the surrounding region. As He taught in the Jewish synagogues, He was widely acclaimed.

Luke 4:16 So 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 to read. 

Nazareth is situated at the southern edge of the hill country of Galilee overlooking the beautiful Jezreel Valley. Jesus had grown up here, and everyone knew Him as the carpenter’s son.

As his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day. Jesus set an example of regular attendance at the public worship services.

They met on the Sabbath (Saturday), because they were still bound under the dispensation of law. After the resurrection and ascension of Christ, Christians began meeting on the first day of the week (Sunday, cf. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2).

Luke 4:17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. 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 has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; :19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Jesus participated in the service that day by opening the scroll and reading one and a half verses (Isa 61:1–2a). He read a portion that dealt directly with the earthly ministry of the Messiah (such as preaching and healing) and stopped just before the passage went on to describe His coming judgment in the end times.

Luke 4:20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. :21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” :22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

The application was short and to the point, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. This was a direct and full claim to be the Messiah.

Luke 4:23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ”

The Lord knew that this popularity was shallow. There was no real appreciation of His true identity or worth.

To them, He was just one of their own home-town boys who had made good in Capernaum. He anticipated that they would say to Him, “Physician, heal yourself!” Ordinarily this parable would mean, “Do for yourself what you have done for others. Cure your own condition, since you claim to cure others.” But here the meaning is slightly different. It is explained in the words that follow: “Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country,” that is, Nazareth. It was a scornful challenge for Him to perform miracles in Nazareth as He had done elsewhere, and thus save Himself from ridicule.

Luke 4:24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. :25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; :26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. :27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

The Lord replied by stating a deep-rooted principle in human affairs: great men are not appreciated in their own neighborhood.

He then cited two pointed incidents in the OT where prophets of God were not appreciated by the people of Israel and so were sent to Gentiles. When there was a great famine in Israel, Elijah was not sent to any Jewish widows—though there were plenty of them—but he was sent to a Gentile widow in Sidon. And although many lepers were in Israel when Elisha was ministering, he was not sent to any of them. Instead he was sent to the Gentile Naaman, captain of the Syrian army.

Imagine the impact of Jesus’ words on Jewish minds. They placed women, Gentiles, and lepers at the bottom of the social scale. But here the Lord pointedly placed all three above unbelieving Jews! What He was saying was that OT history was about to repeat itself. In spite of His miracles, He would be rejected not only by the city of Nazareth but by the nation of Israel. He would then turn to the Gentiles, just as Elijah and Elisha had done.

Luke 4:28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,

The people of Nazareth understood exactly what He meant. They were infuriated by the mere suggestion of favor being shown to Gentiles.

Bishop Ryle comments: Man bitterly hates the doctrine of the sovereignty of God which Christ had just declared. God was under no obligation to work miracles among them.

Luke 4:29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. :30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way. 


Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 121). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr., MacDonald, Farstad, Believers Bible; Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson