Confirmation of the Son of God in the Wilderness - Luke 4:1-13

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 4:1-13

<< Previous Note(s)Luke Main PageNext Note(s) >>

Confirmation of the Son of God in the Wilderness - Luke 4:1-13

The wilderness temptation of Jesus was important for several reasons. First, the account portrays Jesus as a true Israelite that embodied God's standards (see note on 3:22). Jesus came out of Egypt (Matt. 2:15). He endured forty days of temptation in the wilderness like Israel's forty years (v. 2; Num. 14:34). Jesus's normal fast (only water, no food; v. 2) parallels the supernatural forty-day fasts of Moses (Exod. 34:28) and Elijah (1 Kgs. 19:8). These men were representative leaders in Israel. Furthermore, Jesus himself understood his role as the final true Israelite. He resisted each temptation he faced in the wilderness with Scripture. The passages used call for Israel's faithfulness in the wilderness (see notes on vv. 4, 8, 12; see Eph. 6:17). These themes are even stronger in Matthew than in Luke. In all of this, Jesus succeeded where Israel failed. He overcame temptation and proved himself to be God's true Son (see Heb. 4:15; 5:8-9). Second, this temptation showed Jesus's superiority as the new Adam (see note on 3:23-38). The first Adam was created in a state of grace, placed in a lush garden, and given all that he needed (Gen. 2:4-25). Nevertheless, he failed to overcome the Evil One's temptation (Gen. 3:6-7). Conversely, Jesus was weakened by hunger (v. 2). He then endured the harshness of the wilderness while he fought the devil's temptations. He trusted God, relied on his Spirit (v. 1; 3:22), and emerged as God's faithful Son (see Heb. 10:7). Third, the temptation narrative helps tie together the preceding accounts of Jesus's baptism (3:21-22) and genealogy (3:23-38). God affirmed Jesus's sonship at his baptism (3:22). Satan attacked Jesus's sonship in the wilderness (v. 3). Jesus proved his sonship by his victory over temptation. Taken together, these passages undeniably reaffirm Jesus's identity as the Son of God (3:22, 28). Finally, this temptation narrative is important because it had implications beyond Jesus's own life. These were more than ordinary temptations. They were aimed at Jesus's role as the Christ and Adam of a new humanity. During this conflict with the devil, he is overcoming temptation and resisting the devil as our representative head (see Rom. 5:12-21; Eph. 2:14-15). The entirety of God's redemptive plans hung on his victory.

Luke 4:1

Holy Spirit. By mentioning him twice early on, Luke highlighted the importance of the Spirit in Jesus's life and ministry. This was also a pattern for every believer (see Rom. 8:5-8, 12-14; Gal. 5:16-18). led . . . in the wilderness. A place associated with testing (Deut. 8:2), demonic activity (8:29; 11:24), and fellowship with God (5:16; Mark 1:35). Jesus experienced all three. He was purposely sent there for God to test his character and resolve in mission (Heb. 5:8-9; see Heb. 11:17; Jam. 1:2-4, 12-13).

Luke 4:2

forty days. The number forty shows up often in the Old Testament (Gen. 7:4, 12; Exod. 24:18; Num. 14:33; Lev. 12:1-4; Deut. 25:3; Ezek. 4:6). Most relevant here is the parallel with Moses' and Elijah's forty days fasts (see note on vv. 1-13). ate nothing. Some fasts involve no food or drink. Others allow for water only and no food. Jesus's fasts seem to be have been from food only. He still drank water. This is confirmed by the fact that he ate nothing and was hungry. Also, the narrative points to a natural, rather than supernatural fast. The emphasis is on Jesus's weakness. tempted. The devil's temptations in the following verses (vv. 3-12) came at the end of his forty day fast when he was weakest (Matt. 4:2). These were probably the culmination of other temptations Jesus fought off during the forty days. devil. Satan (Mark 1:13), who has been the enemy of God's people from the beginning (Gen. 3:1-5; Rev. 12:9). Scripture presents him as an accuser (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7; Zech. 3:1-2), deceiver (John 8:44; Rev. 20:10), tempter (1 Chron. 21:1; 1 Thess. 3:5), and murderer (John 8:44). His aim is to destroy the faith of believers (22:31-32; Mark 4:15; 1 Pet. 5:8).

Related Resources

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

<< Previous Note(s)Luke Main PageNext Note(s) >>