Luke 4 Commentary

NOTE: This Verse by Verse Commentary page is part of an ongoing project to add notes to each verse of the Bible. Therefore many verses do not yet have notes, but if the Lord tarries and gives me breath, additions will follow in the future. The goal is to edify and equip you for the work of service (Eph 4:12-13-note) that the Lord God might be glorified in your life and in His Church. Amen (Isa 61:3b, Mt 5:16-note)

From Jensen's Survey of the NT by permission

Luke 4:1  Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness

  • Jesus (KJV): Mt 4:1-11 
  • full (KJV): Lu 4:14,18 3:22 Isa 11:2-4 61:1 Mt 3:16 Joh 1:32 3:34 Ac 1:2 10:38 
  • and was (KJV): Lu 2:27 1Ki 18:12 Eze 3:14 Mk 1:12,13 Ac 8:39 
  • wilderness (KJV): 1Ki 19:4 Mk 1:13 

Amplified (classic) Then Jesus, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led in [by] the [Holy] Spirit

Amplified (2015)  Now Jesus, full of [and in perfect communication with] the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 

KJV  And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

ESV And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness

NET Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,

NIV  Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert,

NJB Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert,

NLT  Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,

Wuest  And Jesus, in the control of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was continually being led by the Spirit in the uninhabited region,

YLT And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, turned back from the Jordan, and was brought in the Spirit to the wilderness,


Matthew and Luke record the same temptations but in different order. Reasons are proposed as to why the difference but they are purely conjecture. Both records are the inspired word of God and that is what matters.


  1. Stones to Bread - Mt 4:1, 2, 3, 4
  2. Test God's Protection - Mt 4:5, 6, 7
  3. Kingdoms of the World - Mt 4:8, 9, 10, 11


  1. Stone to Bread - Lk 4:1, 2, 3, 4
  2. Kingdoms of the World - Lk 4:5, 6, 7, 8
  3. Test God's Protection - Lk 4:9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Steven Cole introduces Luke 4:1-13 noting that "To live in this world means that you will encounter temptation. Some, like playwright Oscar Wilde, don’t even try to fight it. He said, “I can resist anything except temptation.” Others want to be delivered from temptation, but they would like it to keep in touch from time to time. But if we want to be godly people, we must learn to resist the temptations that come at us from the world, the flesh, and the devil.JESUS CHRIST IS OUR GREAT EXAMPLE AND TEACHER WHEN IT COMES TO RESISTING TEMPTATION. He was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). If we want to be like Jesus, we will be eager to learn from Him how He resisted the devil. This account of Jesus’ temptation must have come down to the disciples and to us from Jesus Himself, since it was a private encounter. Luke uses the incident both to confirm Jesus as the righteous Son of God at the outset of His public ministry and to teach us how to FOLLOW HIM in obedience to the Father." (Luke 4:1-13 The Temptation of Jesus)

John MacArthur introduces the Temptation of Jesus writing "Since the Fall in the Garden of Eden, temptation has been a constant, unrelenting part of human life. Men have tried to avoid and resist it with self-inflicted pain to make themselves uncomfortable and presumably humble, or by isolating themselves from other people and from physical comforts. But no person has ever found a place or a circumstance that can make him safe from temptation. Throughout the history of the church much has been written and spoken about overcoming temptation. A fifth-century Christian wrote, Fly from all occasions of temptation, and if still tempted, fly further still. If there is no escape possible, then have done with running away and show a bold face and take the two-edged sword of the Spirit. Some temptations must be taken by the throat as David killed the lion; others must be stifled as David hugged the bear to death. Some you had better keep to yourselves and not give air. Shut them up as a scorpion in a bottle. Scorpions in such confinement die soon, but if allowed out for a crawl and then put back into the bottle and corked down, they will live a long while and give you trouble. Keep the cork on your temptations, and they will die of themselves." Benedict of Nursia (c. 480–543) sought an increase of grace and exemption from temptation by wearing a rough hair shirt and living for three years in a desolate cave, where his scant food was lowered to him on a cord. Once he threw himself into a clump of thorns and briars until his body was covered with bleeding wounds. But he found no escape from temptation. It followed him wherever he went and in whatever he did. Others have tried to overcome temptation by, in effect, denying it. Jovinian, a heretical fifth-century monk, taught that after a person was baptized he was forever free of the devil’s power and from temptation. Jerome, his most outstanding opponent, wisely commented that baptism does not drown the devil." (Matthew Commentary)

In Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11 and the summary in Mark 1:12-13, the Holy Spirit gives us the pattern for victory over temptation. So as we ponder these passages, may God's Spirit enable us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith. Amen (Heb 12:2). Given the fact that Jesus was alone in the wilderness with His adversary the Devil, it is clear that this revelation to the Gospel writers is in as sense Jesus' personal testimony in which He reveals the "secret" of how saints can experience victory over temptation whether it comes at us from the world, the flesh or the devil.

One could divide Jesus' wilderness experience into the preparation (Lk 4:1-2), the temptation (Lk 4:3-12) and the triumph (Lk 4:13). This naturally leads to three points of application: Am I prepared? I will be tempted! Will I emerge triumphant? The truths in Jesus' temptation clearly provide the template for victory in times of temptation/testing! Therefore it behooves all God's children to meditate often (even memorizing) Jesus' response to temptation in Luke and Matthew, so that we might be equipped and enabled (by the Spirit Who will use the sword we have memorized or meditated upon) to experience victory when (not if) we are tempted in the "wilderness" of this world!

Notice that several translations have either and or then which is absent in the NAS, choosing not to render the Greek conjunction "de." The translations above that begin with and or then are more accurate as they indicate continuity with the previous event in Jesus' life, His baptism, which MacArthur says was "His commissioning."

So Jesus had just been baptized by John (Luke 3:21-22) which demonstrated that He had the Father's approval (“You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”) and the Spirit's anointing ("the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove") for ministry. And as Jon Courson reminds us we need to see in this story a warning for "After a high time often comes a hard time; on the heels of a triumph, trouble often follows."

John MacArthur adds that "One of the great truths of life, from which even the Son of God was not exempt on earth, is that after every victory comes temptation. God’s Word warns, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). When we have just succeeded in something important, we are invariably tempted to think that we made the accomplishment in our own power and that it is rightfully and permanently ours. When we are most exhilarated with success we are also most vulnerable to pride-and to failure....At other times success causes us to feel invincible and to let down our guard, and when testings come we are not prepared for them....No sooner had Israel been delivered from Egypt than Pharaoh came pursuing her with his army. No sooner had Hezekiah left the solemn Passover than Sennacherib came against him. No sooner had Paul received an abundance of revelations than he was assaulted with vile temptations."

One application for all us as followers of Jesus is to continually seek to be spiritually alert (filled with the Spirit) after we have experienced a "spiritual mountaintop."

Jesus full of the Holy Spirit - I like Wuest's paraphrase "Jesus, in the control of the Holy Spirit." As discussed below, the Wuest translation emphasizes a vitally important truth for us as followers (imitators) of Christ to fully comprehend -- the idea that one who is filled with the Spirit is controlled by (and empowered by) the Spirit (cp the phrase in the power of the Spirit in Lk 4:14-note).

Kevin Zuber summarizes Jesus' temptations as "(1) Serve Yourself (Lk 4:3-4); (2) Honor Yourself (Lk 4:5-8); (3) Be spectacular (be presumptuous and prove Your self-importance; Lk 4:9-12). Jesus countered each temptation with an appeal to Scripture (cf. Dt 8:3; 6:13; 6:16). These events proved Jesus was the right man, with the appropriate background, with the proper credentials, and with the desirable experience for the ministry He was about to begin." (The Moody Bible Commentary.

Jesus (2424)(Iesous) is transliteration of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is the transliteration of the Hebrew name Jehoshua (Yehoshua) or Jeshua (Yeshua) which mean Jehovah is help orJehovah is salvation. Stated another way the Greek Iesous corresponds to the OT Jehoshua(Yehoshua) which is contracted as Jeshua (Yeshua).NET Note adds that "The Greek form of the name Iēsous, which was translated into Latin as Jesus, is the same as the Hebrew Yeshua (Joshua), which means “Yahweh saves” (Yahweh is typically rendered as “LORD” in the OT)."

Most of the NT uses of Iesous refer to our Lord Jesus. In the Gospels the single Name Jesus (Iesous) is used as His personal Name and is found 538 times. In the Epistles Jesus is usually (but not always - e.g., Ro 3:26; 4:24; 1Cor 12:3; 2Cor 11:4; Phil 2:10;1Th 4:14; Heb 7:22; 10:19, etc) used in combination with Christ or Lord (see next paragraph). Jesus is known by Christ alone some 44 times in the Gospels.

Looking at the entire NT we find Jesus in several combinations…

  • Jesus Christ (137x in 134v)
  • Christ Jesus (91x in 86v) All except one use (Acts 24:24) are by Paul.
  • Lord Jesus Christ (63x in 63v).
  • Lord Jesus (without Christ) (38x in 38v)
  • Jesus the Christ occurs in Acts 3:20.
  • Jesus is the Christ (Acts 9:22, cp Acts 17:3).
  • Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:5, 28).
  • Jesus Christ the Nazarene (Acts 4:10).
  • Jesus Christ our Lord (Ro 1:4)

One of my favorite (older) choruses is Jesus, Name Above All Names - YouTube

Jesus, Name above all names,
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.

Jesus full of the Holy Spirit - Beloved, this is a very important verse because it marks the beginning of Jesus' 3+ year ministry leading up to the Cross. The first Adam sinned and failed to fulfill his purpose. The Last Adam, Jesus, did not sin and fulfilled His purpose as a Man. Clearly Jesus was always fully God, but for a time, He chose to "empty" Himself of His divine prerogatives (something we cannot fully grasp or explain), and thus lived His life as an example of the perfect life Adam should have lived and the "ideal life" to which all believers today should aspire and seek to imitate (1Cor 11:1). But you say "He was Jesus. He was God. It was no problem for Him to live a holy life." Yes, He was God, but what Luke alludes to is that Jesus relied on the same Source of power, the Holy Spirit, that you and I have access to today, for the Spirit of Christ indwells every believer (Read Ro 8:9). Every believer has all of the Spirit that he or she will ever have (and I personally believe He will inhabit us forever in eternity) for we are complete (pleroo in the perfect tense - speaks of the permanence of this state) in Christ (Col 2:10-note). The issue is not how much of the Spirit we have, but how much of "us" (our heart, our will, our submission, etc) He has! Luke says Jesus was "full of the Holy Spirit" indicating Jesus had surrendered to the Spirit's full control. While this truth is indeed mysterious, it is Biblical and it is the way that we too can live the so-called "victorious Christian life." - full of the Holy Spirit. Compare Luke 4:14 = "And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power (dunamis) of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district."

John MacArthur has an excellent summary contrasting the temptations of Adam and of Jesus - Comparing Adam’s temptation with that of Jesus reveals some obvious differences and makes Jesus’ victory over His temptation all the more remarkable. Adam faced temptation in the best possible surroundings, the garden of Eden. Jesus faced temptation in the worst imaginable setting—the wasteland of the Judean desert. Adam lived in the sinless perfection of the pre-fall world. Jesus lived in a sinful, fallen world. No overwhelming buildup of temptation lured Adam into sin, because he yielded to the first temptation he faced. Jesus, on the other hand, faced repeated temptations over the first thirty years of His life (Heb. 4:15), and intense temptation during the forty days before the final three recorded here. Adam feasted on all the lush provisions the garden had to offer. Jesus was weakened by forty days of fasting. In the best of circumstances, Adam fell; in the worst imaginable circumstances, Jesus did not. The consequences of Adam’s fall to temptation were lethal to the human race; the consequences of Jesus’ triumph over temptation were life-giving. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Luke 1-5)

A T Robertson on Full of the Holy Spirit - An evident allusion to the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism (Luke 3:21f.). 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 (Lk 1:35-note). 

Full (abounding) (4134)(pleres from pleos = full, pletho = to fill) means to be filled up as opposed to empty (as of a hollow vessel - Mt 14:20, 15:37, Mk 6:43). Of a surface, covering every part (leprosy in Lk 5:12). Figuratively, of one full of, filled with, abounding in, thoroughly endowed with (Lk 4:1 full of the Holy Spirit, Acts 9:36 abounding in deeds, Stephen full of grace and power Acts 6:8) Pleres is used to describe Jesus as "full of grace and truth." (Jn 1:14-note) The first church chose deacons who were "men of good reputation, full (pleres) of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task" (Acts 6:3) and they choose "Stephen, a man full (pleres) of faith and of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 6:5), who was also "full (pleres) of grace and power" and "was performing great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6:8), and "full (pleres) of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 7:55). 

Pleres is used to describe Barnabas - "Then when he had come and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; for (explaining His previous actions) he was a good man, and full (pleres) of the Holy Spirit and of faith. (What is the result of Barnabas' being filled with the Spirit?) And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord." (Acts 11:23-24)

In Acts 13 Luke records "negative filling" writing...

"But Elymas the magician (for thus his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled (pleroo) with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him,  and said, "You who are full (pleres) of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?" (Acts 13:8-10)

And so we see that pleres is repeatedly associated with the Holy Spirit - Lk 4:1, Acts 6:3, 5, 7:55, 11:24. Clearly the state of being filled with the Spirit was of great import in the life of Jesus and the lives of the disciples in the Book of Acts. When pleres is used in this figurative sense, it conveys something more than simply "filling up to the brim" so to speak.The idea is to be saturated with or to to be permeated thoroughly with. The point is that what fills a person, controls the person. For example, as we noted above Elymas the magician (Acts 13:8) in Acts 13:10 was filled with "all deceit and fraud." And what was the "effect?" He made "crooked the straight ways of the Lord." (Acts 13:10). As an aside notice how Paul was "enabled" to confront this man who seems in essence to be enabled or to be even demonically controlled and empowered ("you son of the devil" Acts 13:10) --  "Paul, filled with (controlled by, enabled by, supernaturally empowered by) the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him." (Acts 13:9).

The upshot is that to be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit and thus supernaturally empowered or enabled to accomplish what cannot be accomplished naturally (by relying on my human "power"). This is a vital truth for modern believers to grasp because this was the example (pattern) Jesus left us to follow (Read 1 Cor 11:1-note, 1 Jn 2:6-note, 1 Pe 2:21-note) This is why Eph 5:18-note  is so critical to the Christian life(Memorize and Meditate on this verse!- memorization, meditation), for there is simply no other way to live the "Christ life," a supernatural life, then the way Jesus lived it--filled with the Holy Spirit! 

As further support of the truth that what fills you, controls you, note that the pagans in Ephesus were "filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" (Acts 19:28) Rage filled them and rage controlled them. Mark it down - Every believer is either being controlled by the Spirit or the fallen flesh. There is NO MIDDLE GROUND! These two forces are continually in opposition, and like oil and water they DO NOT MIX! (study Gal 5:17-note). And because of this principle, believers are commanded to continually walk (present imperative) by the Spirit, for then (and only then) we will absolutely not (as emphasized by a strong double negative in Gal 5:16-note!) fulfill the desires of our flesh (Notice that Paul does not say we won't have these sinful desires! He says they won't control us!) (Memorize and Meditate on this important passage! Gal 5:16-note).

Recommended Side Study - The links below go into detail on the importance of Eph 5:18 and Gal 5:16 in the walk of a disciple, emphasizing that we cannot follow Jesus in our "natural power" because Jesus walked in dependence on (reliance upon) the supernatural power of the Spirit, leaving us the perfect example to follow! These studies also discuss the FIVE MOST CRITICAL PASSAGES in the life of every follower of Jesus Christ. So take some time to go through the following notes slowly, memorizing and chewing the five great passages and walking in the Spirit energized transforming power of the Word of Truth!

Make Disciples 1
Make Disciples 2
Make Disciples 3
Make Disciples 4
Make Disciples 5
Make Disciples 6
Make Disciples 7
Make Disciples 8

Darrell Bock notes that full of the Holy Spirit "is used in the NT 16 times, yet 10 of those uses are in Luke-Acts. Often it is in association with the Spirit, indicating a person who operates in and is directed by God's Spirit (Acts 6:3, 5; 7:55; 11:24). A contrastive use is the description that someone is "full of rage" (Acts 19:28). Thus, the temptations occur after Jesus has been guided by the Spirit, a point emphasized in repeating the idea later in the verse. It was no accident he was in the wilderness fasting." (The Bible Knowledge Key Word Study - The Gospels) 

In his interesting book God's Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul,  Gordon Fee emphasizes the believer's need to be continually filled with the Spirit in his summary of the "Pauline Perspective" (page 896) writing that...

Despite His key role in the realization of salvation in Christ, the Spirit’s major role in Paul’s view of things lies with His being the absolutely essential constituent of the whole of Christian life, from beginning to end (Ed: You may want to read that sentence again as this vital truth has been "jettisoned" by much of the mainstream evangelical church in America!) The Spirit thus empowers ethical life in ALL OF ITS DIMENSIONS—personal, corporate, and in the world. Believers in Christ, who for Paul are “Spirit people” first and foremost, are variously described as living by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and sowing to the Spirit. Ethics for Paul is likewise Trinitarian at its roots: the Spirit of God conforms the believer into the likeness of Christ to the glory of God (cp 2 Cor 3:18-note). The Spirit is therefore the empowering presence of God for living the life of God in the present. For Paul, therefore, there is no Christian life that is not at the same time a holy life, made so by the Holy Spirit whom God gives to his people (1 Th 4:8-note). At the same time, life in the Spirit also includes every other imaginable dimension of the believer’s present eschatological existence, including being empowered by the Spirit to abound in hope, to live in joy, to pray without ceasing, to exercise self-control, to experience a robust conscience, to have insight into God’s will and purposes, and for endurance in every kind of present hardship and suffering. To be a believer means nothing less than being “filled with” and thus to “live in/by the Spirit.” Finally, the Spirit is the key to all truly Christian Spirituality. At the individual level the life of the Spirit includes “praying in the Spirit” as well as with the mind." (Bolding and color and Italics added)


See Discussions below that relate to the vital need for Holy Spirit in the Life of every believer:

Jon Courson on was led around by the Spirit  - Notice that Jesus was led—or literally driven—by the Spirit into the wilderness, where Satan would tempt Him. Why? Was the Spirit trying to do Him in? Not at all. The Spirit led Him into the place of temptation not to do Him in, but to show Him off. Think of it this way: If you were to show some interest in a Jeep, the salesman would tell you to take it for a drive in the mountains or the dunes in order to show you its power and durability. So, too, the Spirit was able to show off the power and the ability, the holiness and tenacity of Jesus. The same is true for you. Why does the Lord allow hardship in your life? He's out to show His strength in your life that the devil might be defeated once again.

Led (71) (ago) is in the imperfect tense ("continuously led" - A T Robertson) and the passive voice which could be paraphrased "was continually being led." Jesus went, guided by the Holy Spirit, from place to place in the wilderness.

To be led implies that there is Someone in front leading, clearly referring to the Spirit. Indeed, this truth is mysterious, for Jesus never ceased to be fully God, but recall that He voluntarily laid aside His divine prerogatives. (Php 2:6,7-note) And so in the case of our perfect pattern, the Lord Jesus, the Spirit was "in front" (so to speak) leading the way. The passive voice indicates that the leading was performed by an external Entity, the Holy Spirit. Believers do well to follow this example (1 Pe 2:21-note)! Is the Holy Spirit "in front" of me each morning as I go out into the spiritual warfare of the world?

The Holy Spirit...Spirit - "The double mention of the Spirit in this verse makes it clear that the temptation was neither the fault of Jesus nor an accident." (NET Note) The sovereign God was clearly in charge! Although the temptations were given by the Devil, they were a part of God’s perfect plan for the redemptive work of His Son. The double mention of the Spirit also emphasizes that Jesus had surrendered His will to the will of the Holy Spirit, which gives His followers the perfect example of what we should do, for "the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." (1 John 2:6-note

By the Spirit -  literally "in the spirit." This phrase emphasizes that Jesus was “guided by the Spirit” (NEB), not His own account or initiative. This is the perfect pattern in which God desires all His children to walk in the "wilderness" of this world led by His Spirit (cp the command to walk in the present imperative in Gal 5:16-note).

Vincent says the literal rendering indicates "the sphere rather than the impulse of his action." Robertson adds that "Luke affirms that Jesus was now continuously under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Hence in this same sentence he mentions the Spirit twice."

Mark's two verse summary of Jesus' Wilderness Temptation is dramatic... 

Mark 1:12-13 - Immediately  (after His baptism) the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.

Comment: In place of being led Mark uses the action word impelled which is the Greek verb "ekbállō" (ek = out + ballo = to cast, drive, throw) which means thrust out, forced out, as from urgent necessity. In short, the uses of this verb indicates the necessity of Jesus’ temptation.  Ekballo is the same verb used to describe our Lord's expulsion of demons in Mk 1:34, 39! As Vincent writes Jesus "was not only impelled into the wilderness, but guided in the wilderness by the Spirit."

Matthew 4:1 uses the verb anago which means Jesus had been led up (or brought up) from a lower to a higher point. The BDAG note says Jesus "was led up into the desert, from the Jordan (below sea level) into the highland." Recall that in the immediate context, Jesus had just been baptized by John in the Jordan River (Mt 3:13-17) Luke will use anago in Luke 4:5 where the devil "led Him up."

See map - Jesus Baptized by John 

Holy (40)(hagios) means set apart, sanctified, or consecrated. The Spirit is Holy and He Alone can make believers "holy" unless we quench or grieve His sanctifying influence in our lives. In Jesus' case, He was sinless and so in that sense He was holy in a way believers can never be until we are glorified and like Him (1 John 3:2-note).

Jesus...returned from the Jordan - This fact links the temptation to the baptism of Jesus (Lk 3:21-22). Mark's account would substantiate this premise for after describing Jesus' baptism in Mk 1:9-11 he says "immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness." (Mk 1:12)

Returned (5290)(hupostrepho from hupo = under + strepho = to turn, to change) means to turn back from or to return (go back to a location - this could suggest He was previously in the wilderness.)

Wilderness (2048) (eremos) means lonesome, solitary, wilderness = uninhabited, lonely, uncultivated region translated “wilderness” 32x in the KJV. MacArthur adds that "the wilderness of Judea, where Jesus was most likely tempted, was the most barren, desolate region in all of Israel. Scarred by precipitous cliffs, deep ravines, and tumbled boulders, it was a region so barren that animals could not be pastured in it. In this remote, largely uninhabited area, Jesus might be more alone than anywhere else in Israel." (Ibid)

Vincent on The Wilderness. - The place is unknown. Tradition fixes it near Jericho, in the neighborhood of the Quarantania, the precipitous face of which is pierced with ancient cells and chapels, and a ruined church is on its topmost peak. Dr. Tristram says that every spring a few devout Abyssinian Christians are in the habit of coming and remaining here for forty days, to keep their Lent on the spot where they suppose that our Lord fasted and was tempted." Vincent adds that Mark's version has the phrase "With the wild beasts. Peculiar to Mark. The region just alluded to abounds in boars, jackals, wolves, foxes, leopards, hyenas, etc."

John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost tells the story of the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve. When he wrote the companion volume, Paradise Regained, the story of course featured Christ, the second Adam. But the poem does not tell the story of Christ’s redemptive death and resurrection, as one might expect. Instead, it dramatizes His temptation by Satan in the wilderness. In Milton’s view, Christ’s victory in this event perfectly paralleled the Fall. Though our first parents succumbed to Satan’s temptation, Jesus did not. Because of His perfect obedience, the doors of heaven are open for all who believe.

Luke 4:1-13 
Your Word is truth. —John 17:17 
When a friend started making random despairing statements, people were concerned for him and started giving advice and offering encouragement. As it turned out, he was simply having fun by quoting song lyrics out of context to start a conversation. Friends who tried to help wasted their time by offering help he didn’t need and advice he didn’t want. The consequences of my friend’s misleading statements were not serious, but they could have been. In taking time to respond to his false need, someone could have neglected someone else’s truly serious need. Some people who take words out of context just want to gain attention or win an argument. But others are more sinister. They twist truth to gain power over others. They endanger not only lives but also souls. When people use words to manipulate others to behave in certain ways—or worse, when they quote the Bible out of context to convince others to do wrong—there’s only one defense: We need to know what God truly says in His Word. Jesus was able to resist temptation with the truth (Luke 4). We have the same resource. God has given us His Word and Spirit to guide us and keep us from being deceived or misled.

Your words of pure, eternal truth
Shall yet unshaken stay,
When all that man has thought or planned
Like chaff shall pass away. —Anon.

If we hold on to God’s truth, we won’t be trapped by Satan’s lies.
“And It Was Night”

March 28, 2013 — by David C. McCasland

Genesis 39:1-12 The Tempted Brothers
June 19, 2009 — by Dave Branon
How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? —Genesis 39:9
Two brothers—both far from home —faced similar temptations. One, working away from the family, fell to the schemes of a younger woman. His sin led to embarrassment and family turmoil. The other, separated from loved ones because of family turmoil, resisted the advances of an older woman. His faithfulness led to rescue and renewal for the family.

Who are these brothers? Judah, who fell to the desperate scheme of his neglected daughter-in-law Tamar (Gen. 38). And Joseph, who ran from the arms of Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39). One chapter, an ugly story of irresponsibility and deception; the other, a beautiful chapter of faithfulness.

The stories of Judah and Joseph, presented back-to-back in the midst of “the history of Jacob” (37:2), show us that temptation itself is not the problem. Everybody faces temptation, even Jesus did (Matt. 4:1-11). But how do we face temptation? Do we demonstrate that faith in God can shield us from giving in to sin?

Joseph gave us one way of escape: Recognize sin as an affront to God and run from it. Jesus gave another: Answer temptation with truth from God’s Word.

Facing temptation? See it as an opportunity to make God and His Word real in your life. Then run!

We fall into temptation when we don’t stand against it

Matthew 4:1-11 

Before I was old enough to get a driver's license, I had a haunting fear of getting behind the wheel of a car. When I thought about driving with an open stretch of road before me, I was afraid I'd be over­whelmed by an obsession to go as fast as the car would go. I couldn't imagine having the self-control to drive no faster than road conditions and the speed limit would allow. When I turned sixteen, though, I learned that I could control the accelerator instead of being controlled by it. Just because I was able to press the pedal to the floor didn't mean I had to do so.

Many times I've heard people try to justify sin by claiming that a sudden, unusual, and irresistible temptation had confronted them. And sometimes we reason that a certain questionable action might actually be all right because the opportunity came along at just the right time and provided just what we thought we needed.

One of the lessons we learn from the temptation of Jesus is that God will always provide a way of escape from temptation or He will give us the strength to resist it. He expects us to be discerning and to be conscious of the meaning of temptation. Beyond that, He wants us to know that we can rely on His Spirit and His Word, the way Jesus did, and to resist temptation rather than be ruined by it. —M. R. De Haan II

Every temptation is an opportunity to get nearer to God.

Matthew 4:1-11 

On the day before my mother died in 1976, my brother and I were called to her bedside. Though too weak for extended conversation, she quoted two verses—Isaiah 41:10 and John 10:29—not simply to con-sole us, but to reinforce her own faith. She held fast to what God had said; and what God said held her fast.

The Word of God has tremendous holding power. When tempted in the wilderness, our Lord overcame the enemy's suggestions by quot­ing Scripture. He did this to strengthen Himself, not to intimidate Satan. Though sinless, Jesus was truly human, and the temptation was real. Sometimes we allow His deity to overshadow this event and assume that the Savior casually brushed Satan aside with a few Scrip­ture verses. But the Bible leaves no doubt that He was "tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). Therefore, the Word held Him steady. Jesus did not quote verses to Satan because they contained some magical power. Rather, He called them to mind to guide and reinforce Himself so that He would remain true to God's will. Because He kept His life under the control of the Word, Satan could not deter Him from doing His Father's will.

Whenever we are tested—whether it's a severe temptation, an over­whelming fear, or the specter of death itself—we can rest with confi­dence on God's sure and abiding Word. Down through the centuries countless saints have been held by its power, and it is as strong as ever. —D. J. De Haan

The strongest weapon in Satan's arsenal is no match for the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

LIKE CHRIST: Led by the Spirit. by Andrew Murray
  “And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.”—Luke 4:1.
  “Be filled with the Spirit.”—Eph. 5:18.
  “For as many an are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”—Rom. 8:14.
From His very birth the Lord Jesus had the Spirit dwelling in Him But there were times whom he needed special communications of the Spirit from the Father. Thus it was with His baptism The descent of the Holy Spirit on Him, the baptism of the Spirit, given in the baptism with water, was a real transaction: He was filled with the Spirit He returned from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit, and experienced more manifestly than ever the leading of the Spirit. In the wilderness He wrestled and conquered, not in His own Divine power, but as a man who was strengthened and led by the Holy Spirit. In this also “He was in all things made like unto His brethren.”
The other side of the truth also holds good: the brethren are in all things made like unto Him. They are called to live like Him. This is not demanded from them without their having the same power. This power is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, whom we have of God. Even as Jesus was filled with the Spirit, and then led by the Spirit, so must we be also filled with the Spirit and be led by the Spirit.
More than once, in our meditations on the different traits of Christ’s character, it has seemed to us almost impossible to be like Him. We have lived so little for it: we feel so little able to live thus. Let us take courage in the thought: Jesus Himself could only live thus through the Spirit. It was after He was filled with the Spirit that He was led forth by that Spirit to the place of conflict and of victory. And this blessing is ours as surely as it was His: we may be filled with the Spirit; we may be led by the Spirit. Jesus, who was Himself baptized with the Spirit, to set us an example how to live, has ascended into heaven to baptize us into the likeness with Himself. He who would live like Jesus must begin here: He must be baptized with the Spirit. What God demands from His children He first gives. He demands entire likeness to Christ because He will give us, as He did Jesus, the fulness of the Spirit. We must be filled with the Spirit.
We have here the reason why the teaching of the imitation and likeness to Christ has so little prominence in the Church of Christ. Men sought it in their own strength, with the help of some workings of the Holy Spirit: they did not understand that nothing less was needed than being filled with the Spirit. No wonder that they thought that real conformity to Christ could not be expected of us, because they had mistaken thoughts about being filled with the Spirit. It was thought to be the privilege of a few, and not the calling and duty of every child of God. It was not sufficiently realized that “Be ye filled with the Spirit,” is a command to every Christian. Only when the Church first gives the baptism of the Spirit, and Jesus, as the Saviour who baptizes with the Spirit each one who believes in Him, their right place, only then will likeness to Christ be sought after and attained. People will then understand and acknowledge: to be like Christ we must be led by the same Spirit, and to be led by the Spirit as He was, we must be filled with the Spirit. Nothing less than the fulness of the Spirit is absolutely necessary to live a truly Christian, Christ-like life.
The way to arrive at it is simple. It is Jesus who baptizes with the Spirit: he who comes to Him desiring it will get it. All that He requires of us is, the surrender of faith to receive what He gives
The surrender of faith. What He asks is, whether we are indeed in earnest to follow in His footsteps, and for this to be baptized of the Spirit. Do not let there be any hesitation as to our answer. First, look back on all the glorious promises of His love and of His Spirit, in which the blessed privilege is set forth: EVEN AS I, YE ALSO. Remember that it was of this likeness to Himself in everything He said to the Father: “The glory which Thou gavest me have I given them.” Think how the love of Christ and the true desire to please Him, how the glory of God and the needs of the world, plead with us not through our sloth to despise this heavenly birthright of being Christ-like. Acknowledge the sacred right of ownership Christ has in you, His blood-bought ones: and let nothing prevent your answering: “Yes, dear Lord, as fax as is allowed to a child of dust, I will be like Thee. I am entirely Thine; I must, I will, in all things bear Thy image. It is for this I ask to be filled with the Spirit.”
The surrender of faith: only this; but nothing less than this He demands. Let us give what He asks. If we yield ourselves to be like Him, in all things, let it be in the quiet trust that He accepts, and at once begins in secret to make the Spirit work more mightily in us. Let us believe it although we do not at once experience it. To be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must wait on our Lord in faith. We can depend upon it that His love desires to give us more than we know. Let our surrender be made in this assurance.
And let this surrender of faith be entire. The fundamental law of following, Christ is this: “He who loses his life shall find it.” The Holy Spirit comes to take away the old life, and to give in its place the life of Christ in you. Renounce the old life of self-working and self-watching, and believe that, as the air you breathe renews your life every moment, so naturally and continually the Holy Spirit will renew your life. In the work of the Holy Spirit in you there are no breaks or interruptions: you are in the Spirit as your vital air: the Spirit is in you as your life-breath: through the Spirit God works in you both to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Oh, Christian, have a deep reverence for the work of the Spirit who dwells within you. Believe in God’s power, which works in you through the Spirit, to conform you to Christ’s life and image moment by moment. Be occupied with Jesus and His life, that life which is at the same time your example and your strength, in the full assurance that the Holy Spirit knows in deep quiet to fulfil His office of communicating Jesus to you. Remember that the fulness of the Spirit is yours in Jesus, a real gift which you accept and hold in faith, even when there is not such feeling as you could wish, and on which you count to work in you all you need. The feeling may be weakness and fear and much trembling, and yet the speaking, and working, and living in demonstration of the Spirit and of power (1 Cor. 2:3, 4). Live in the faith that the fulness of the Spirit is yours, and that you will not be disappointed if, looking unto Jesus, you rejoice every day in the blessed trust that the care of your spiritual life is in the hands of the Holy Spirit the Comforter. Thus, with the loving presence of Jesus in you, the living likeness to Jesus will be seen on you; the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus dwelling within, the likeness of the life of Christ Jesus will shine around.
And if it do not appear that in thus believing and obeying your desires are fulfilled, remember that it is in the fellowship with the members of Christ’s body, and in the full surrender to Christ’s server in the world, that the full power of the Spirit is made manifest. It was when Jesus gave Himself to enter into full fellowship with men around Him, and like them to be baptized with water, that He was baptized with the Holy Ghost. And it was when He had given Himself in His second baptism of suffering, a sacrifice for us, that He received the Holy Spirit to give to us. Seek fellowship with God’s children, who will with thee plead and believe for the baptism of the Spirit: the disciples received the Spirit not singly, but when they were with one accord in one place. Band thyself with God’s children around thee to work for souls; the Spirit is the power from on high to fit for that work: the promise will be fulfilled to the believing  g servants, who want Him not for their enjoyment, but for that work. Christ was filled with the Spirit that He might be fitted to work and live and die for us. Give thyself to such a Christ-like living and dying for men, and thou mayest depend upon it, a Christ-like baptism of the Spirit, a Christ-like fulness of the Spirit, will be thy portion.
Blessed Lord I how wondrously Thou hast provided for our growing likeness to Thyself, in giving us Thine own Holy Spirit. Thou hast told us that it is His work to reveal Thee, to give us Thy Real Presence within us. It is by Him that all Thou hast won for us, all the life and holiness and strength we see in Thee, is brought over and imparted and made our very own. He takes of Thine, and shows it to us, and makes it ours. Blessed Jesus! we do thank Thee for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And now, we beseech Thee, fill us, oh fill us full, with Thy Holy Ghost! Lord! nothing less is sufficient. We cannot be led like Thee, we cannot fight and conquer like Thee, we cannot love and serve like Thee, we cannot live and die like Thee, unless like Thee we are full of the Holy Ghost. Blessed, blessed be Thy name I Thou hast commanded, Thou hast promised it; it may, it can, it shall be.
Holy Saviour! draw Thy disciples together to wait and plead for this. Let their eyes be opened to see the wondrous unfulfilled promises of floods of the Holy Spirit. Let their hearts be drawn to give themselves, like Thee, to live and die for men. And we know it will be Thy delight to fulfil Thine office, as He that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Glory be to Thy Name. Amen. (Like Christ)

J Vernon McGee - Led of the Spirit
The Son of God needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to meet this temptation. If He needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to be able to meet the temptation, I might as well face up to the fact—and you might as well join with me—that you and I cannot face the temptations of this world today in our own strength. You and I are joined in a battle in which we are hopelessly outnumbered, and we will be miserably defeated if we go forth in our own strength and with our own ability. Paul could say, even as a believer after his conversion:  I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.  (Romans 7:21) In other words, Paul was saying, “After I became a child of God through faith in Christ, with a new nature that wanted to serve God, even at the very moment when I wanted to do good, evil was present with me. When I want to do good, evil is right there.” I wonder if that has been your experience. Again Paul could say:  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3, 4)
Paul found out that in and of himself he could not live the Christian life at all. He could not meet and grapple with the issues of life, for in his flesh there was nothing good. And even though Paul approved of the Law, he was unable to keep it because of the weakness of the flesh. But he found out that by walking in the Spirit of God he was enabled to live for God. That’s the reason he could write to the Galatians: I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust [the desire] of the flesh.  (Galatians 5:16) Walk by means of the Holy Spirit! You and I, as we walk out of our homes (Ed: Even more important is to WALK IN OUR HOMES by the Spirit, for that is often where we experience the most fierce attacks!) and even a house of worship into the world, we will not live for God unless we walk in the Spirit, my beloved. If it’s going to depend upon your feeble ability and my feeble ability, we’ll fail before the sun goes down today. We cannot make it—we are unable to do it. Our Lord was filled with the Holy Spirit before He entered the wilderness. Then we’re told something else, that He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. It’s interesting to note that Mark, in his very brief and blunt record, says that “immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). The word in the Greek is ekballo, which means “to throw out.” The Holy Spirit threw Jesus out into the wilderness. It all implies simply this: He did not seek the temptation. His attitude at the time of the temptation was the same as it was yonder in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed, “Let this cup pass from Me.”
Any person in the flesh today, in the battles of life, is foolish to say that he can meet temptation and come off the victor. Even our Lord prayed, “Let this cup pass from Me.” But He also hastened to add, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). May I say to you, that’s His attitude here when He’s driven, thrown out, into the wilderness by the Spirit of God. That’s the first thing for us to note. (Jesus: Centerpiece of Scripture)

Luke 4:2  for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.

  • forty (KJV): Ex 24:18 34:28 De 9:9,18,25 1Ki 19:8 Mt 4:2 
  • tempted (KJV): Ge 3:15 1Sa 17:16 Heb 2:18 
  • he did (KJV): Es 4:16 Jon 3:7 
  • he afterward (KJV): Mt 21:18 Joh 4:6 Heb 4:15 

Wuest  for forty days being constantly put to the test by the devil as he solicited Him to sin. And He ate not even one thing during those days, and they having been brought to an end, He became hungry. 

Amplified (classic) For (during) forty days in the wilderness (desert), where He was tempted (tried, tested exceedingly) by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they were completed, He was hungry.


John MacArthur observes that "In this struggle of the Son of God with the son of perdition we are given clear and applicable insights into Satan’s strategy against God and His people and also into Christ’s way of victory over the tempter. Side by side we are shown the way of danger and the way of escape, the way that leads to defeat and death and the way that leads to victory and life-in short, the way of Satan and the way of God....When we face testing and temptation in the same way our Lord did, we too can be victorious over the adversary’s attempts to corrupt us and to usurp the Lord’s rightful place in our lives." (Matthew Commentary)

For forty days - This same time period is mentioned in several different contexts 22x in the NAS - Gen. 7:4, 12, 17; 8:6; 50:3; Ex. 24:18; 34:28; Nu 13:25; 14:34; Deut. 9:9, 11, 18, 25; 10:10; 1 Sam. 17:16; 1 Ki. 19:8; Ezek. 4:6; Jon. 3:4; Matt. 4:2; Mk. 1:13; Lk. 4:2; Acts 1:3. One thinks particularly of Moses who "was on the mountain forty days and forty nights" (Ex 24:18, Ex 34:28). 

A T Robertson is right that for forty days, being tempted "is another instance of poor verse division which should have come at the end of the sentence....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....Mark does not give the fast.  Matt. 4:2 has the aorist active participle nēsteusas (nesteuo "had fasted") 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."

Faith Life Study Bible - God led His people through the desert for 40 years due to their unfaithfulness. The Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days so that His fidelity might be set in contrast to the nation’s infidelity.

J Vernon McGee adds that "All of His life, from the moment He was born and Herod sought to destroy Him, Satan was making attacks on Him. And when He concluded this temptation in the wilderness, that did not conclude His temptation as far as Satan was concerned."

ESV Study Bible Forty days is reminiscent of Israel’s 40 years of wilderness wandering (Nu. 14:34) and the 40-day fasts by Moses (Ex. 34:28; Deut. 9:9) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:8). Jesus’ experience of 40 days of fasting in the wilderness corresponds to Israel’s experience of 40 years of testing in the wilderness (Deut. 8:2–3). Jesus endured his testing victoriously and obediently. Moses also fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights on two occasions (Ex. 24:18; 34:28; Deut. 9:9, 11, 18, 25; 10:10; cf. Elijah in 1 Kings 19:8). Fasting was a means of focusing intently on prayer. Forty days is about the longest a human can fast without permanent bodily harm.

Notice how Jesus gives us a clear template of how to experience victory in times of temptation. As discussed, Jesus' pattern for us to follow is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Word! Are you filled? Are you memorizing God's Word? How is your Quiet Time? As Vance Havner said "An empty heart is an invitation to the devil." Or as C H Spurgeon phrased it "Idle Christians are not tempted of the devil so much as they tempt the devil to tempt them."

Brian Bell makes the interesting observation on the devil's triple temptation, reminding us that "Most assaults come from more than 1 direction...(Lk 4:1-13 is) A triple attack on the Son of God!"

The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words points out that temptation or testing “is a difficult situation, a pressure that brings a reaction through which the character or commitment of a believer is demonstrated.”

As Brian Bell says "God permits such situations to prove & improve our faith. The evil is not in the situations God permits, but in responding sinfully to them. God even provides a back door to every temptation so we might overcome it! 1 Cor 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."  Why did temptations/testing's come Jesus' way? Not to determine His character or ability. Not to give Satan a chance to defeat Him. But so He could personally experience what we go through and so be prepared to assist us (cf Heb 2:18, Heb 4:15). So we could know how to overcome the evil one by means of the Spirit of God and the Word of God (Ed: And ultimately at the Cross - Heb 2:14-15, cp Gal 6:14, Jn 16:33, 1 Jn 5:4-5). The first Adam was tested in a beautiful garden and failed, but the last Adam was victorious in a terrible wilderness/desert (cp 1 Cor 15:22, 45). Before offering a new life to others, He proved in a personal demonstration that a new life was possible! He showed His own freedom from the inadequacies and the sin which trap you and me. Jesus shows freedom is possible and gives each of us hope!" (Luke:4:1 -13 Triple Assault)

Wiersbe writes that "Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us, but God can use these difficult experiences to put the best into us. Temptation is Satan's weapon to defeat us, but it can become God's tool to build us (see James 1:1-8, 13-17)."

Consider (command - aorist imperative) it all joy, my brethren, when (not "if") you encounter various trials (peirasmos), knowing that the testing (dokimon) of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4-note)

Being tempted (3985)(peirazo from the noun peira = test from peíro = perforate, pierce through to test durability of things) is a morally neutral word simply meaning “to test”. Whether the test is for good (Heb 11:17-note) or evil (Mt 4:1) depends on the intent of the one giving the test (God or Satan) and also on the response of the one tested.  When the context clearly indicates the testing is an enticement to evil, peirazo is translated as tempt, which conveys a negative sense. In Luke 4:2 since the devil was giving the test, it is translated as tempt, for it is an enticement to do evil. W H Griffith explains the difference this way stating that "Satan tempts to bring out the bad; God tests to bring out the good."

Peirazo is in the present tense participle ("continually tested") which indicates the test was ongoing. In other words Satan's temptations continually came at Jesus for the entire 40 day period. The NET Bible translates it as "endured temptations by the devil." The NET Note adds that "Here the present participle suggests a period of forty days of testing. Three samples of the end of the testing are given in the following verses." As Bock says "What Luke summarizes for us is the end of this trial." (Ibid)

Seven of the 38 NT uses of this term for trial or temptation are in Luke-Acts. Depending on the context peirazo in some contexts refers to a test as in Luke 11:16 and in other contexts refers to a temptation, as here in Luke 4 and Acts 5:9. 

One aspect of periazo that should be kept in mind is that a test in a believer's life can turn out to be a temptation. In other words, if God allows a test and we resent the test and react to it in our flesh (cp "each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust [that derives from our fallen flesh - cp "lusts of the flesh" -1 Jn 2:16 or "fleshly lusts"  1 Pe 2:11]" - James 1:14), it will likely become a temptation for us to sin. God of course never tempts us to sin, whereas when the devil is involved he virtually always is tempting us to sin. As Hiebert said "Temptation has its source not in the outer lure but in the inner lust."

Peirazo - 38x in 34v -- Mt. 4:1, 3; 16:1; 19:3; 22:18, 35; Mk. 1:13; 8:11; 10:2; 12:15; Lk. 4:2; 11:16; Jn. 6:6; 8:6; Acts 5:9; 9:26; 15:10; 16:7; 24:6; 1 Co. 7:5; 10:9, 13; 2 Co. 13:5; Gal. 6:1; 1 Th. 3:5; Heb. 2:18; 3:9; 4:15; 11:17; Jas. 1:13f; Rev. 2:2, 10; 3:10

Devil (1228)(diabolos  from diá = through, between + ballo = to cast, throw) means a false accuserslanderer (one who utters false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation), backbiting(malicious comment about one not present), one given to malicious gossip or a calumniator (one who utters maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about, this term imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions). 

Diabolos - 37x and 4x by Luke in this pericope - Mt. 4:1, 5, 8, 11; 13:39; 25:41; Lk. 4:2, 3, 6, 13; 8:12; Jn. 6:70; 8:44; 13:2; Acts 10:38; 13:10; Eph. 4:27; 6:11; 1Ti 3:6, 7, 11; 2Ti 2:26; 3:3; Titus 2:3; Heb. 2:14; James. 4:7; 1Pe 5:8; 1Jn 3:8, 10; Jude 1:9; Rev. 2:10; 12:9, 12; 20:2, 10. Luke's other use of Diabolos is in Lk 8:12 where Jesus gives us a sense of the devil's power declaring "Those (souls) beside the road are those who have heard (the Word of God, eg, the Gospel); then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that (purpose) they will not believe and be saved."

Diabolos is the noun form of the verb diaballō which describes not only those who bring a false charge against one, but also those who disseminate the truth concerning a man, and do so maliciously, insidiously and with hostility.

Notice how the root words (diá = through + bállō = throw) depict the devil's evil method! He constantly throws between seeking to divide whether it be between a husband and wife, a child and parent, a church, etc. Wuest comments that the literal meaning of diabolos is "to throw through" meaning “to riddle one with accusations.” Beloved, following Jesus' example, we too are to resist the devils divisive, derogatory accusations, standing firm in our faith, enabled (like Jesus) by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Word. 

A T Robertson says diabolos "means calumniator, slanderer. It is sometimes applied to men, as to Judas (John 6:70); in 1 Tim. 3:11 (slanderers); and in 2 Tim. 3:3, and Titus 2:3 (false accusers). In such cases never with the article. The Devil, Satan, the god of this world (ho diabolos), is always with the article and never plural. This should be distinguished from another word, also wrongly rendered devil in the A. V.—, daimon and its more common neuter form daimonion, both of which should be translated demon, meaning the unclean spirits which possessed men, and were cast out by Christ and his apostles."

John MacArthur - Among the many other names given him are: the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), the serpent of old and the deceiver of the whole world (Rev. 12:9), Abaddon and Apollyon, both of which mean “destroyer” (Rev. 9:11), and the tempter, as seen in the next verse of our text (Matt. 4:3; cf. 1 Thess. 3:5).

The writer of Hebrews uses peirazo twice in referring to Jesus' temptation - Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15.

Jesus was fully God and fully Man, but as discussed in Lk 4:1 when He was tempted He did not rely on His divine prerogatives to fight off temptation. As noted above He relived on the power of the Spirit and the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. The writer of Hebrews says 

For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

Comment: Regarding the word "tempted" (peirazo) it is important to remember that the test can either be a proof of righteousness or an inducement to evil, depending on our response. In other words if we are filled with the Spirit and the Word and resist in His power, the test/temptation proves our faithfulness. If we try to resist in our natural power or even worse do not choose to resist, the test/temptation becomes a solicitation to sin. The Bible uses the term in both ways. Notice also that "He has suffered" is in the perfect tense which emphasizes that though the temptation Christ suffered in the flesh was completed in the past, its effect is PERMANENT, including the effect of His compassion and understanding as He aids us in the hour of our temptation. Note also the verb "He is able" (dunamai) is in the present tense indicating that Jesus is always ready and willing and able to run to our aid in the time of need. In fact we have His "Chief Operating Officer" (so to speak) indwelling us and the Spirit of Christ carries out this function. The phrase "come to the aid" is one word, the uncommon verb boetheo which is derived from boe (a cry) and theo (to run) and therefore conveys the vivid picture of Jesus' ability to "run to our aid" when we cry out. This begs the question -- What do I do when temptation comes? And it will come because the verb "are tempted" is in the present tense which could more accurately be translated "are continually being tempted!" You may not be experiencing temptation as you read these notes, but Be of sober spirit, be on the alert (1 Peter 5:8) because it is coming!!

We have the Spirit within us (empowering), the Saviour above us (interceding), and the Word before (in) us!
What tremendous resources we have that we might experience victory over every temptation! 

In Hebrews 4:15-note we read of Jesus' earthly temptation...

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize (have a shared feeling) with our weaknesses (and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation), but One Who has been tempted (peirazo again in the  perfect tense emphasizing the abiding effects of His temptation - in context He is ever able to sympathize with us in our temptations!) in all things as we are (tempted), yet without sin.

Related Resources on Temptation of Jesus

He ate nothing - The Greek has a double negation (ouk…ouden) which emphasizes the fact that Jesus ate absolutely nothing! Mt 4:2 says "He had fasted forty days and forty nights." Compare Moses Exodus 34:28 "So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments."

Had ended (fulfilled) (4931)(sunteleo from sun = together or an intensifier + teleo = to finish, cp sunteleia) means to bring together or to completion. The idea of sunteleo is to bring to a successful finish, thus consummating or fully accomplishing Jesus' wilderness testings. Here sunteleo is in the passive voice meaning to be brought to an end. 

In Lk 4:13-note Luke describes an "opportune time," which in this first temptation was the time of Jesus' hunger.

NET Note - This verb and its cognate noun, sunteleia, usually implies not just the end of an event, but its completion or fulfillment. The noun is always used in the NT in eschatological contexts; the verb is often so used (cf. Matt 13:39, 40; 24:3; 28:20; Mark 13:4; Rom 9:28; Heb 8:8; 9:26). The idea here may be that the forty-day period of temptation was designed for a particular purpose in the life of Christ (the same verb is used in Lk 4:13). The cognate verb teleioō is a key NT term for the completion of God’s plan: See Luke 12:50; 22:37; John 19:30; and (where it has the additional component of meaning “to perfect”) Heb 2:10; 5:8–9; 7:28.

He became hungry (3983)(peinao from peín = hunger) means to feel the pangs of lack of food.  As an aside Jesus presumably Jesus drank water during the 40 days, for there is no mention of thirst. Notice the contrast that Jesus was physically "empty" (hungry), but was spiritually "full" of the Spirit.

Became hungry is aorist ingressive (inchoative = beginning to develop) signifying that only after the 40 days of fasting did Jesus really feel that he was hungry!

As Thomas Adams said "Satan, like a fisher, baits his hook according to the appetite of the fish!"

A T Robertson - The hunger of Jesus opened the way for the diabolic suggestion designed to inspire doubt in Jesus toward his Father. 

So here was Jesus in a time of hunger, so the Devil set the bait with bread. But be aware as John Bunyan says "As Satan can tell how to suit temptations for you in the day of your want, so he has those (temptations) that can entangle you in the day of your fullness."

One other point needs to be emphasized because many of God's children confuse temptation with sin. Temptation is not sin! It is the call to battle! As J Wilbur Chapman explained "Temptation is the tempter (Ed: cf temptation from the world, the flesh or the devil) looking through the key-hole into the room where you are living; sin is your drawing back the bolt and making it possible for him to enter." We all do well to pray as Thomas De Witt Talmage prayed "O Lord, help us to hear the serpent’s rattle before we feel its fangs."

John MacArthur adds that "Hunger (Ed: And, from personal experience, I would also add lack of adequate sleep) not only makes us physically weak but also tends to weaken our moral and spiritual resistance as well. When we are tired, hungry, or sick we are usually less concerned about other needs and dangers and tend to be vulnerable to anything that might provide relief from our present distress. Satan therefore usually attacks most fiercely in such times of weakness and unpreparedness. Temptations that have been anticipated, guarded against, and prayed about have little power to harm us (Ed: Jesus recommendation - Mt 6:13-note) . Jesus tells us to “keep watching and praying (Ed: both verbs are present imperative = calls us to do this continually, ONLY possible as we continually rely on the filling/controlling of the Holy Spirit!), that you may not come into temptation” (Mark 14:38, cp Mt 26:41-note). Victory over temptation comes from being constantly prepared for it, which, in turn, comes from constantly relying on the Lord (Ed: I.e, the enabling power of the Spirit = "God is working in" us - see Php 2:13NLT-note). It is said that a person traveling in tiger country will not be attacked if he sees the tiger before the tiger sees him. Tigers attack from behind in order to surprise their victims, and therefore one of the best defenses against that vicious animal is to face it. (Ed: Reminds me of Jas 4:6,7-note and 1 Pe 5:8-9-note) Jesus, though having fasted for over a month, was no less alert to spiritual danger. Because He had spent the time in communion with His Father, even in His weakest physical moments He did not allow Satan to gain any foothold. " (Matthew Commentary)

J Vernon McGee - Now our Lord was tested. That raises the question. Could Christ have fallen? There’s a great deal of difference of opinion here today. Could Christ have yielded to Satan’s suggestions when He was tempted? May I say to you, the answer is a categorical no. He could not fall! Well, somebody says, then was it a legitimate temptation? Yes, it was a test, a test to demonstrate that He could not fall, that He was the immaculate Son of God, that He was an impeccable Savior, that He was able to save to the uttermost those who come unto God through Him. It was a demonstration.
Now that’s not contrary to our way of living, even today. New articles are tested. Automobiles are tested, and tires are tested. If you should go to a site where one of the tire companies has a testing ground for their tires, and if you should stop and say, “What are you trying to do, ruin them?” they would say, “Oh, no. We’re just proving that they cannot be ruined.”
Let me give this very homely illustration. When I was a boy I lived in a west Texas town that is no longer on the map. Nothing is there now but mesquite bushes. But there was a time when those who founded the town had high hopes it would become a booming town. It never did. The little town was named Burnham. It was on the Santa Fe Railroad, right by the west fork of the Brazos River. The Brazos River is unusual in that during summertime you can’t find enough water to wade in it. In fact, in late summer a mosquito couldn’t even get a drink in it. But in the wintertime you could float a battleship up the river.
One year we had a flood. It washed out the bridge for the Santa Fe tracks, so the company came in and built a new strong bridge. When they had finished it, they ran in two locomotive engines on top of that bridge and tied the whistles down. All of us who lived in the little town—all twenty-three of us—ran down there because we’d never heard two whistles at the same time. Several officials of the Santa Fe were present for the occasion, and the engineer who had built the bridge was there. So one of the citizens of our community stepped up to him and asked, “What are you doing?”
“We’re testing the bridge.”
Of course, this citizen of our community went on to ask, “Are you trying to break it down with those two engines?”
This engineer with great disdain looked at him, actually with contempt, “Of course not. Two engines could never break down that bridge!”
“Then why in the world are you putting them on there?”
“We’re putting them on to demonstrate that two engines cannot break the bridge down.”
Our Lord was tempted for that same reason. And, my friend, because of that fact, He was tested in a way that you and I have never been tested. The pressure on Him was greater than it’s ever been on any of us. For you and me, when the pressure builds up from temptation, we give way, and the minute we give way the pressure is relieved. But our Lord never gave way, and the pressure continued to build up. You and I really don’t know what extreme temptation is as He knew it.
He knew what even Adam didn’t learn. Adam, created innocent, never knew what it was to resist to the very end. Adam gave way to sin. You and I give way to sin, and the pressure is removed. Jesus never gave way, and the pressure built up. Only He knows what it was to really be tempted.

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil (Luke 4:1-2).  "I see the devil's hook and yet cannot help nibbling at his bait," bemoaned Moses Adams, the eighteenth-century American humorist.  The biggest fish Satan could hook would be God Himself. In the wilderness temptation, the Spirit led Jesus to Satan; God did not fear the wiles of the master trickster.  To the Jews of the first century, the three temptations had a powerful message. Although God had promised to meet their needs, protect their lives, and give them hope for tomorrow, Israel of old continually worried about groceries, safety, and the future. In resisting Satan's offers of food, protection, and power, Jesus proved that God could provide these three things and more. We do not easily grasp how God Incarnate could be tempted in all the same ways as we are, but real men have real temptations. We can believe in Christ's sinless perfection, but our minds invariably sanitize His temptations. Though Christ totally resisted sin, He was not tempted with just lily-white dalliances. Whatever our attempts to whitewash Christ's humanity, the perfect God-man, nevertheless, truly knows temptation. Only such a Person could provide a salvation that meets people's deepest needs. Satan may have a digitized fish-finder and chartreuse lures, but Christ has seen all his devices. He understands and sympathizes with us, and He provides us with food that satisfies and gives us strength to resist Satan's shiny bait.

LUKE 4:1-13 
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1).
 Before I was old enough to get a driver's license, I had a haunting fear of getting behind the wheel of a car. When I thought about driving with an open stretch of road before me, I was afraid I'd be overwhelmed by an obsession to go as fast as the car would go. I couldn't imagine having the self-control to drive no faster than road conditions and the speed limit would allow. When I turned sixteen, though, I learned that I could control the accelerator instead of being controlled by it. Just because I was able to press the pedal to the floor didn't mean I had to do so. Many times I've heard people try to justify sin by claiming that a sudden, unusual, and irresistible temptation had confronted them. And sometimes we reason that a certain questionable action might actually be all right because the opportunity came along at just the right time and provided just what we thought we needed. One of the lessons we learn from the temptation of Jesus is that God will always provide a way of escape from temptation or He will give us the strength to resist it. He expects us to be discerning and to be conscious of the meaning of temptation. Beyond that, He wants us to know that we can rely on His Spirit and His Word, the way Jesus did, and to resist temptation rather than be ruined by it. —M.R.D.II
Every temptation is an opportunity to get nearer to God.

MATTHEW 4:1-11  
"I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you, I will uphold you" (Isaiah 41:10). 
On the day before my mother died in 1976, my brother and I were called to her bedside. Though too weak for extended conversation, she quoted two verses—Isaiah 41:10 and John 10:29—not simply to con-sole us, but to reinforce her own faith. She held fast to what God had said; and what God said held her fast.
The Word of God has tremendous holding power. When tempted in the wilderness, our Lord overcame the enemy's suggestions by quoting Scripture. He did this to strengthen Himself, not to intimidate Satan. Though sinless, Jesus was truly human, and the temptation was real. Sometimes we allow His deity to overshadow this event and assume that the Savior casually brushed Satan aside with a few Scripture verses. But the Bible leaves no doubt that He was "tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). Therefore, the Word held Him steady. Jesus did not quote verses to Satan because they contained some magical power. Rather, He called them to mind to guide and reinforce Himself so that He would remain true to God's will. Because He kept His life under the control of the Word, Satan could not deter Him from doing His Father's will.
Whenever we are tested—whether it's a severe temptation, an overwhelming fear, or the specter of death itself—we can rest with confidence on God's sure and abiding Word. Down through the centuries countless saints have been held by its power, and it is as strong as ever. —D.J.D.
The strongest weapon in Satan's arsenal is no match for the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-12
The Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. - 
The legendary Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy.” This also describes the tactic that our greatest enemy, Satan, uses in his spiritual warfare against humanity. Satan's strategy against Jesus in the desert—half-truths and cunning deception—is the same that he uses to this very day.

The first test concerns provision. Although Satan in some sense acknowledged Jesus' divine sonship, he tempted Jesus to take matters into His own hands, rather than trust the Father to provide. Jesus refused to enter into any discussion and instead quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3. The rest of this verse says that, rather than bread, we're to live on God's Word, which is exactly what Jesus was doing during the temptation.

The second test concerns power. Somehow Satan was able to show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and offered them to Him. After his boasting, Satan slipped in the fact that to receive these kingdoms, Jesus would have to worship him in the process. Breaking the first commandment was clearly not something that Jesus would do, as His quote from Deuteronomy 6:13 showed. Besides, the Father would give all the kingdoms of the world to His Son, so Satan was actually tempting Jesus to avoid the cross and His redemptive work.

The third test concerns protection. Satan took Jesus to the highest part of temple, probably the Royal Porch, which overlooked the Kidron Valley, some 450 feet below. To jump from there meant certain death. Here Satan upped the ante by quoting Scripture himself (Ps. 91:11-12), but twisting it horribly. Jesus replied with Deuteronomy 6:16, clearly understanding that testing God is not the way to prove His protection. Jesus' complete faithfulness to the Father in this trial anticipated His faithfulness on the cross, the event that meant Satan's decisive defeat.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY Satan tests us in the same area in which Jesus was tested—our faithfulness to God. Today's passage shows that responding in faithfulness depends upon knowing God's Word. As we learn His Word, the Spirit brings it to our attention at just the right moment. Are you growing in knowledge of the Word? If you aren't already in a Bible study or Sunday school class, consider joining one this month. In addition to your daily Bible study, you'll grow from studying the Word with other believers.

Luke 4:3  And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." 

Wuest  Then the devil said to Him, In view of the fact that you are Son of God by virtue of your possession of the divine essence, speak to this stone to the effect that it will become a loaf of bread. 


Since Jesus was hungry (Lk 4:2b), the devil honed in on this potential weak spot. Remember that it was not the devil who initiated this conflict but it was the Spirit Who had led Jesus to this point. He could not have tempted Jesus, if the Father had not allowed it and the Spirit brought Jesus into the wilderness. Beloved, the application to our spiritual life is clear that Satan cannot tempt us unless God allows it. 

And the devil said to Him - Matthew 4:3 designates him as the Tempter (peirazo), but does not tell us anything about his physical form. What is clear is that the attack was personal and involved the exchange of words, the two even moving together to the place of temptation on the pinnacle of the Temple and then to a a very high mountain (Mt 4:8 - Luke just says "led Him up"). 

As Robert Stein says "The picture is that of the Anointed of the Lord on the offensive and led by the Spirit to confront the devil." (New American Commentary)

As an aside note that Jesus is alone and in a deserted place. As an aside our enemy will often attack us with temptations when we are alone. Do you have an accountability partner? 

Steven Cole comments that "We do not know nor can we speculate on whether the devil took on human form, whether he spoke audibly or whether he suggested the thought to Jesus without an audible voice. The point is, Satan hit Jesus with this temptation at the precise moment that Jesus was hungry. He always works like that—he hits you when you’re down (Ed: I would suggest he also hits us when we are "up" when we on a spiritual mountaintop so to speak). He bides his time until you are vulnerable, and then he moves in with his subtle suggestion of evil. I once heard a godly man tell of how he had been ministering in India for a month. On his return flight over the Atlantic, an attractive stewardess was especially kind to him, giving him a lot of attention. Being weary from traveling, he appreciated it. He had to spend the night in Washington, D.C. before catching his final flight home the next morning. As he went to get off the plane, he thanked the stewardess for her service. She responded by inviting him to come to her apartment for the night rather than going to his hotel. He was tired, he had been away from his wife for a month, and here was a very attractive young woman offering herself to him in a situation where no one would know. This was the opportune moment for Satan to hit! (Ed: Frankly in this situation most men would not even need the devil's enticement! Too often we say the devil made me do it, when the truth is, it is our rotten flesh that controlled our passion! The best defense? Be controlled by the Spirit!) By God’s grace, the man declined the offer, but he said that there was a brief moment in which it sounded very inviting. So be alert as to when you are vulnerable. That’s when the enemy will hit! (Sermon)

Devil (1228diabolos - described above. In Job 2:1 ("Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.") the Hebrew word for Satan is "satan"! It is translated in the Greek (Lxx) as "ho diabolos" ("the devil"). Remember that the nature of the devil is that he is a liar. Speaking to the Jews (who had made a superficial profession of faith in Him - Jn 8:30) Jesus said "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning (Ge 3:1-15), and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. (Ed: This is why believers should daily be renewing their mind with TRUTH found in the Word of God!) Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." And so we see him twist the truth (Jesus is the Son of God and has the power of God -- this is truth) attempting to ensnare Jesus, just like he (or his minions) attempt to do with believers today. We need to remember that he is " more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made" (Ge 3:1) and in our natural strength are no match for him. But filled with the Spirit like Jesus we can detect and deflect the fiery missiles of the evil one. As you read these comments are you filled with the Spirit like Jesus was? Jesus filled with the Spirit of truth was able to discern the one who was the spirit of a lie. 

If You are the Son of God - The Greek construction (first class conditional) indicates that the devil did not doubt that Jesus was the Son of God. This verse could be paraphrased “Since you are the Son of God.” Wuest has "In view of the fact that you are Son of God." So the devil begins by acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God. (cp Luke 4:3, 9, Mt 4:3, 6). As Warren Wiersbe says "Even the enemy must admit that Jesus is the Son of God. “If Thou be the Son of God” (Luke 4:3, 9) is not a supposition but an affirmation." How sad that so many unsaved  souls refuse to believe what even the devil believes!!!

Son of God just referred to by the Father in Luke 3:22 " the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” The devil surely witnessed His baptism and so alludes to the very words His Father used. This is part of the subtlety of his ruse, for in referring to Jesus as Son of God rather than Son of Man, he deftly calls on Jesus to exercise His divine power. It would be so simple, obvious and easy for Jesus!

ESV Study Bible has interesting comment  - If you are the Son of God implies a challenge for Jesus to demonstrate his divine power. Satan is asking, in essence, “Why should the very Son of God have to suffer in the wilderness in this way?” (Ed: If you are God's Son, you should not have to starve. After all God even provided manna for rebellious Israel in the wilderness and He has given You nothing.)...Jesus, of course, was (and is) the Son of God, but he refused to be tricked by the devil into using his divine prerogatives to make the trial any easier for himself. Jesus obeyed as a man, as the representative for all who believe, so as to “fulfill all righteousness” (Mt 3:15) on behalf of his people.

MacArthur adds "The purpose of the temptation was not simply for Jesus to satisfy His physical hunger, but to suggest that His being hungry was incompatible with His being the Son of God. He was being tempted to doubt the Father’s Word, the Father’s love, and the Father’s provision. He had every right, Satan suggested, to use His own divine powers to supply what the Father had not."

Tell this stone to become bread (Mt 4:3) - This is amazing arrogance! The devil (a creature) is issuing a command to the Lord (and Creator) of the Universe! The devil was not tempting Jesus to self-indulgence, for it is not a sin to eat when hungry.  He was tempting Jesus to distrust the providential care of His Father and to use His own divine powers to serve Himself.

Jesus consistently lived in perfect harmony with His Father's plan. Compare "“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." (Jn 4:34) with Jn 17:4 where Jesus declared "I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do." Satan's desire was to break that perfect harmony between God the Father and Jesus incarnate as a Man. 

Warren Wiersbe - Satan wanted Jesus to disobey the Father’s will by using His divine power for His own purposes.

Constable notes that "All three of the tests recorded enticed Jesus to abandon His dependence on God. The first one was a temptation to gratify self but not by doing something wicked since eating is necessary. The devil attacked Jesus where He was vulnerable since He was then hungry. To continue to exist in the wilderness, Jesus, and the Israelites before Him, had to believe that God’s word was trustworthy (" fed you with manna which you did not know," Dt. 8:3). God had revealed a plan for both that assured them that they would not die in the wilderness. Satan assumed that Jesus was the Son of God, as is clear from the first class condition in the Greek text (Lk 4:3)." (Luke 4)

John MacArthur explains that "The devil’s suggestion that Jesus command a stone to become bread was not a temptation to self-indulgence, for it is not a sin to eat food when one is hungry. Still less was it aimed at getting Jesus to pride-fully show off His powers, since He and Satan were alone and there was no audience to perform for. Satan’s point was far more insidious and subtle. He was aware that in the incarnation, Jesus had voluntarily set aside the independent use of His divine power. The devil was attempting (as he had with Eve) to get Him to distrust God’s love and provision for Him. He insinuated that God was indifferent and disinterested in Jesus’ plight. After all, had God not provided food for the stubbornly rebellious Israelites during their forty years of wandering in the wilderness? Had not David testified, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread” (Ps. 37:25)? If the Father truly loved His Son, why had He failed to provide food for Him these past forty days? Satan hoped to entice Jesus to question the love of the Father and the care of the Holy Spirit. (Ibid)

In his comments on the same temptation in Matthew MacArthur wrote "Satan was hoping to persuade Jesus to demonstrate His power to verify that it was real. That would mean violating God’s plan that He set that power aside in humiliation and use it only when the Father willed. Satan wanted Jesus to disobey God. Affirming His deity and rights as the Son of God would have been to act independently of God."

Luke 4:4  And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.'"

  • It (KJV): Lu 4:8,10 Isa 8:20 Joh 10:34,35 Eph 6:17 
  • That (KJV): Lu 22:35 Ex 23:25 De 8:3 Jer 49:11 Mt 4:4 6:25,26,31 

Wuest  And Jesus answered him, It has been written and is now on record, The individual person shall not live on bread alone.


Since followers of Christ are called to imitate their Lord in His earthly ministry (1 Cor 11:1-note, 1 Jn 2:6-note, etc) we can glean much of practical value from Jesus' face to face confrontation with the Tempter. While we are unlikely to tempted by the Devil himself, we certainly will be tempted by the fiery missiles flung by his evil minions (Eph 6:16-note). We must remember that Jesus experienced victory over these intense temptations, not because He was the Son of God, but because He surrendered to the Spirit of God and spoke the Word of God. In a "spiritual nutshell" this is His perfect pattern for our victory in the time of temptation -- filled with the Spirit and filled with the Word.

Oswald Chambers said "We cannot stand against the wiles of the devil by our wits." We can only stand against him in reliance on God's Word and Spirit!

Daniel Block makes the point that "The one who twists truth will fail to ensnare the one filled with the Spirit." This begs the question "Are you filled?" If not, beware!

It is written in Deut 8:3 from the Septuagint (Lxx) rather than the Hebrew text. And it is still in force! The fact that the NT more frequently quotes from the Greek Septuagint than the Hebrew strongly supports the value of this translation. Personally, I do not read an OT passage without also reading the corresponding Septuagint (Bibleworks makes this very easy) and the spiritual insights gleaned are frequent. 

Marvin Vincent has an interesting observation that "The first recorded words of Jesus after His entrance upon His ministry are an assertion of the authority of Scripture....When addressing man, our Lord seldom quoted Scripture, but said, I say unto you. In answer to Satan He says, It is written."

It is written (1125)(grapho) means to engrave or inscribe characters with a stylus on a surface. It is written is used 3 times in the temptation story (Lk 4:4, 8, 10) and all are in the perfect tense indicating that the Word had been written in the past under divine inspiration and it remains written. Jesus affirmed the permanence of the Scripture declaring "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away." (Mt 24:35). Dear believer God's Word stands written once and for all thus providing a firm foundation on which we can stand forever!

When we were children and our parents told us to do something and we questioned "Why?", the answer was usually "Because I said so!". Now we are children of God and some may ask why are we commanded to be holy? The answer of course is because it stands written for eternity. In short, because God said so! A popular saying is "God said it, I believe it, that settles it." This sounds good but isn't accurate because God's Word is true, regardless of whether we believe it or not. A more accurate "saying" would be "God said it, that settles it!" It is written should put a stop to every complaint or excuse, which it did when Jesus said it. However as discussed below when the devil used this phrase, he took it out of context and misapplied the truth, because he is liar and the father of lies.

MacArthur - What sustains a person’s life is not food, but obedience to “everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3). 

Live (2198)(zao) refers literally to natural physical life. 

Word (4487)(rhema from verb rheo = speak or utter words) refers to the spoken word, especially a word as uttered by a living voice. Rhema focuses upon the content of the communication. For example in Luke we read "And they understood none of these things, and this saying (rhema) was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said. (Luke 18:34)

Jesus quotes from the book of Deuteronomy. Could you quote anything from the book of Deuteronomy?

Dt 8:2-3 You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.

Matthew adds a phrase to the quote from Deuteronomy...


Note the contrast word "but" - bread contrasted with every Word from God. As Henry Morris says "it is not just the "thoughts" of Scripture that are vital, but every word!"

Luke 4:5  And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 

  • taking (KJV): Mk 4:8,9 1Co 7:31 Eph 2:2 6:12 1Jn 2:15,16 
  • in (KJV): Job 20:5 Ps 73:19 1Co 15:52 2Co 4:17 

Amplified (classic) Then the devil took Him up to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the habitable world in a moment of time [in the twinkling of an eye].

NET  Then the devil led him up to a high place and showed him in a flash all the kingdoms of the world.

KJV  And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain (most versions reject this as an addition), shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

ESV  And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,

NLT   Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

NAB  Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.

NIV  Luke 4:5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.

Wuest  And taking Him up, he exposed to His eyes all the kingdoms of the Roman empire in a moment of time. 

NET Note - The order of Luke’s temptations differs from Matthew’s at this point as numbers two and three are reversed (cp Mt 4:5-10). It is slightly more likely that Luke has made the change to put the Jerusalem temptation last, as Jerusalem is so important to Luke’s later account. The temporal markers in Matthew’s account are also slightly more specific.

And he led Him up (Mt 4:8 = a mountain; cf Dt 32:49, 34:1-3) - Note the word "and" (Kai) indicating continuity or sequential occurrence of these three temptations. One after another. Isn't that the way we feel sometimes after we have just experienced one temptation/test and another one sweeps in! While it does say the devil led Jesus up, remember Who is really in charge! It was the Spirit Who led Him in initially (Lk 4:1) and the Spirit is still in full control of Jesus, NOT the Devil. Notice that the NET Bible adds the phrase "to a high place" but that is not present in the Greek. The addition is reasonable considering the fact that Matthew's version specifies "to a very high mountain" (Mt 4:8)

Led...up (321)(anago from ana = up, again, away + ago = to bring, lead) literally speaks of movement from a lower to a higher point (Lk 4:5 = Satan "led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.", Mt 17:1 = "led them up on a high mountain", Lk 2:22 = "they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord," , Mt 4:1 "Jesus was led up by the Spirit"). Anago means to bring, lead, carry, or take up (Lk 2:22; 4:5; 22:26; Acts 7:41;9:39; 12:4; 16:34; Ro 10:7; Heb. 13:20; Lxx = Ge 50:24; Ex. 8:5; Lev 14:20; 1 Ki 3:15;Job 1:5; Ps. 30:4; 71:20; Isa 57:6).  

Showed (1166)(deiknuo means to "exhibit something that can be apprehended by one or more of the senses," (BDAG) Louw-Nida adds that the idea of deiknuo is "to make known the character or significance of something by visual, auditory, gestural, or linguistic means." The devil exhibited (so to speak) putting forward prominently or openly the kingdoms for Jesus to see. The point of this verb is that the devil wanted Jesus to see his offer clearly, hoping this would entice Him to forgo the Cross

All the kingdoms of the world - Wuest interprets this in his translation as "the Roman empire," (probably based upon the word oikoumene) but that is not exactly what the text states. Admittedly the NT does refer to the world in a way that suggest the Roman empire (e.g, the Gospel going into "all the world" in Col 1:6-note, however Jesus charges His disciples to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." This clearly refers to ALL the earth). Also the word oikoumene is used in contexts which would suggest the Roman Empire in Acts 17:6, 24:5. The point is that there were non-Roman kingdoms on the other continents that could also have been included in this devilish enticement. The Greek says all (pas) which means all without exception. Could the devil have actually accomplished this task? It is not unreasonable given the fact that he carried out this exhibition in just a moment, an infinitesimally small moment in time, which itself indicates it was supernatural in some way we can not fully comprehend. 

Kingdoms (932)(basileia from basileus = a sovereign, king, monarch) denotes sovereignty, royal power, dominion. Basileia can also refer to the territory or people over whom a king rules 

World (3635) (oikoumene the feminine participle present passive of oikeo = to dwell or abide) describes the inhabited portion of the earth, exclusive of the heavens above and hell below. The Romans used oikoumene in their secular writings to refer to the Roman Empire, for to them their empire equated with the whole world. Finally, in some NT contexts oikoumene was used to refer to the inhabitants of the world (see  Acts 17:31, 19:27, Re 12:9 - note) Zodhiates writes that oikoumene "Generally, and in later usage, (referred to) the habitable globe, the earth, the world as known to the people of ancient times (Mt. 24:14; Lk 21:26; Ro 10:18; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 16:14)."

Moment ("flash" - NET) (4743)(stigme from stígma = to make a puncture or a mark as with a hot iron) is used only here in the NT and something insignificant and is used figuratively here to describe a unit of time (chronos) as extremely brief and so means a moment, a flash, an instant, an infinitesimally small moment in time, a moment whose passage is virtually instantaneous. Think about what this for a moment. The devil is showing Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (regardless of how you define "world'), which indicates that this was certainly a supernatural exhibition! Some writers say it was "vision like" but it is difficult to be certain exactly how it was shown. The point is that it was exhibited in a moment and Jesus saw it, but Jesus was not "taken aback" by the glory of all the world's splendor! There is a great lesson here for all His followers, for the world is continually tempting us with its glitter and gadgets and passing glory, but enabled by the same Spirit Who enabled Jesus, we can resist the world's temptations! What are the world's temptations for you beloved? Be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might! (Eph 6:10-note)

Stigme is used once in the Septuagint in Isaiah 29:5

But the multitude of your (= "Ariel" or Jerusalem - Isa 29:1) enemies will become like fine dust, And the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; And it will happen instantly (Heb = petha - describes a sudden event; Lxx = stigme), suddenly (Lxx - parachrema - at once).

Luke 4:6  And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 

  • All (KJV): Joh 8:44 2Co 11:14 Rev 12:9 20:2,3 
  • and the (KJV): Es 5:11 Isa 5:14 23:9 1Pe 1:24 
  • and to (KJV): Joh 12:31 14:30 Eph 2:2 Rev 13:2,7 

Amplified (classic) And he said to Him, To You I will give all this power and authority and their glory (all their magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, and grace), for it has been turned over to me, and I give it to whomever I will.

NET And he said to him, "To you I will grant this whole realm– and the glory that goes along with it, for it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish.

Wuest  And the devil said to Him, To you I will give this authority, all of it, and its glory, because to me it has been given and is now in my possession, and to whomever I desire, I give it. 


The word bribe (etymology = "thing stolen") means a payment made to a person in a position of trust to corrupt his judgment (and his character!) given in exchange for favor or influence.

"I will give You - This phrase is emphatic. "In effect, the devil is tempting Jesus by saying, "Look what you can have!" (NET Note)

Steven Cole comments that "Satan’s offer, like all his offers, was a mixed bag of truth and error. Jesus later calls Satan “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Paul calls him “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4). But the Bible is also clear, and Satan cleverly alludes to it even here, that God alone sets up kings and grants authority to whomever He wills (Da 4:17, 25). Satan’s authority is at best delegated and temporary. The Bible is clear, as Jesus answers, that God alone is to be worshiped and served. But Satan mixes up the truth of his powerful authority with the error of worshiping him. This is why you always have to be on guard against false teachers. Invariably they present something that is true, but they mix it up with that which is false and unbiblical. One current popular example is a man who does a great job of setting forth who we are in Christ, how we are saints. But then he states that we are not to see ourselves as sinners, but only as saints who occasionally sin. That’s dangerous error, mixed up with truth! Satan baits his hook with truth so that we swallow the whole thing. (Sermon)

I will give You all this domain - Over what did Satan have authority (the right to rule and the might to rule)? From other passages we learn

“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler (Satan) of this world will be cast out. (Jn 12:31)

Comment: Why will Satan be cast out? In context Jesus will be "lifted up from earth" (Jn 12:32) describing His crucifixion, the death knell to the rule of Satan. While the final casting out is presently "on hold" you can be fully assured it is certain because of finality and immutability of God's Word of promise ("will be cast out"). As Martin Luther said " Lo! his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him."

I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler (Satan) of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me (Jn 14:30)

And concerning judgment, because the ruler (Satan) of the world has been judged. (Jn 16:11)

We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 1 Jn 5:19-note

Comment: The "worldrepresents human society under the power of evil and at war with God and His people. As John Stott says the world "is not pictured as struggling vigorously to be free but as quietly lying, perhaps even unconsciously asleep, in the embrace of Satan." 

Hiebert comments that the Devil "holds control over those in the world as a usurper, one “who controls it with tyrannical authority, organizing and orchestrating its life and activities to express his own rebellion and hatred against God.” Thus Jesus portrays the Devil as “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). 

They ("the whole world" Rev 13:3, especially the earth dwellers [see this unique category] in Revelation) worshiped the dragon (Satan) because he gave his authority to the beast (the Antichrist received what the True Christ refused!); and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” (Revelation 13:4-note)

Comment: Fascinating! Christ refused the Devil's offer, while the Antichrist received the offer. Christ received the Crown (Rev 19:16-note), while the Antichrist received condemnation and eternal torment (Rev 19:20-note). Not to mention that the devil's authority to the Antichrist was "valid" for only 1260 days, 3.5 years, 42 months, time, times and half a time (See note)! 

WiersbeAs the prince (ruler) of this world, Satan has a certain amount of delegated authority from God (John 12:31; 14:30). One day he will share this authority with the Antichrist, the man of sin, who will rule the world for a brief time (Rev. 13). Satan's offer to Christ was valid, but his terms were unacceptable; and the Saviour refused. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Domain (authority) (1849)(exousia) describes the territory over which rule or control is exercised. The devil has been granted the right and might over the kingdoms of the world. However the devil's claim to have authority over everything is a claim that is really a "half-truth" (a whole lie!). God is sovereign over all Heaven and Earth. He reigns over all creation. Whatever Satan has dominion over, he has almost like a "squatter" on a piece of land (cp usurper). One day even that domain will be decimated when he is devoured by fire from heaven and cast into the lake of fire where he "and the false prophet....will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Rev 20:9, 10-note). 

In English domain means the territory over which rule or control is exercised. NET Note adds that domain "the sphere in which the power is exercised." Other passages describe the domain of Satan, where he is permitted by God to exercise his right and his might...

Acts 26:18-note (The Gospel to the Gentiles) to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion (exousia) of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ 

Ephesians 2:2-note  in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power (exousia) of the air (to the ruler of the kingdom of the air), of the spirit that is now working (more literally "energizing") in the sons of disobedience.

C I Scofield has a note on Satan that helps understand the domain of the devil  - The present world system (Rev 13:8-note), organized upon the principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and sinful pleasure, is his work and was the bribe which he offered to Christ (Mt 4:8, 9, Lk 4:5,6). Of that world system he is prince (John 14:30; 16:11), and god ("the god of this world" - 2 Cor 4:4). As "ruler (prince) of the kingdom of the air" (Eph 2:2) he is at the head of a vast host of demons (Mt 7:22). To him, under God, was committed upon earth the power of death (Heb 2:14). Cast out of heaven as his proper sphere and "position of authority," he still has access to God as the "accuser of our brothers" (Rev 12:10-note) and is permitted a certain power of sifting or testing the self-confident and carnal among believers (Job 1:6-11; Luke 22:31, 32; 1 Cor 5:5; 1 Ti 1:20); but this is a strictly permissive and limited power (Ed: e.g., Job 1:12), and believers so sifted are kept in faith through the advocacy of Christ (Luke 22:31, 32; 1 John 2:1). At the beginning of the Great Tribulation Satan's privilege of access to God as accuser will be withdrawn (Rev 12:7-12-note). At the return of Christ in glory Satan will be bound for 1000 years (Rev 20:2-note), after which he will be "set free for a short time" (Rev 20:3,7,8-note) and will become the head of a final effort to overthrow the kingdom. Defeated in this, he will be cast into the lake of fire, his final doom. The notion that he reigns in hell is not Biblical. He is prince of this present world system but will be tormented in the lake of fire.

Glory (1391)(doxa  from dokeo = to think) in simple terms means to give a proper opinion or estimate of something. Glory is something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration. It describes renown, a thing that is beautiful, impressive, or worthy of praise. 

And its glory - Do the kingdoms of the world have glory? Of course they do (cf ancient Egypt), but it is a seductive, transient glory because this world is passing away (1 Jn 2:17-note). Moses had been tempted by this glory but he refused it (read why)

By faith (note from the following description that faith is not passive, but is active, dynamic - it results in/produces godly actions) Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. (Heb 11:25-27-note)

And it was Jesus who later ask rhetorically "what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36). Answer? NOTHING! That is nothing except eternal torment because the wages of sin is (temporal and eternal) death. (Ro 6:23)

What glory of this world is seducing you to pursue worldliness over godliness, the former yielding only passing pleasure, while the latter holds promise not only for this present life but also for the life to come (1 Ti 4:8-note)

For it has been handed over to me - When was this authority handed over to the Devil? While one cannot be dogmatic, there would appear to have been a transfer of power when Adam sinned, because at that time sin entered the world Paul describing this tragedy this was "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Ro 5:12) Ultimately then all men are born into the kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan, for John writes "the whole world (unbelievers) lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19). Over that kingdom composed of unsaved souls, Satan reigns, and it would seem most logical that this "reign" began when Adam sinned and sin entered the world. Belief in Jesus results in deliverance "from the domain of darkness, and" transfer "the kingdom of God's beloved Son." (Col 1:13). Perhaps John MacArthur's comments on Hebrews 2:8 will give you some insight into why I believe the transfer of power occurred in Genesis 3...

Because all mankind fell in Adam, because he lost his kingdom and his crown, we do not now see the earth subject to man (Heb 2:8b-note). The earth originally was subject to man (, and it supplied all his needs without his having to do anything. He had only to accept and enjoy the earth as it provided for him. Then, tempted by Satan, man sinned, and his tempter usurped the crown. There you see the change in the chain of command. Man fell to the bottom, and the earth, under the evil one, now rules man. If you pay much attention to ecology, you know that we do not rule this world; it rules us. With all our modern technology, we must constantly fight against the earth for our survival. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Hebrews) (See Sermon Rediscovery of Man's Lost Destiny)

And I give it to whomever I wish - This is true but is still subject to the sovereign control of the Lord God. As someone has said, Satan is on a leash and can go only as far as God allows. The Creator ultimately rules over His creation and that includes Satan, to his chagrin!

NET Note on give it to whomever I wish - The devil is erroneously implying that God has given him such authority with the additional capability of sharing the honor. (Ed: Although as noted above, God does allow the devil to give his authority to the Antichrist - Rev 13:4).

Luke 4:7  "Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours." 

  •  worship me  fall down before me, Lu 8:28 17:16 Ps 72:11 Isa 45:14 46:6 Mt 2:11 Rev 4:10 5:8 22:8 

Amplified (classic) Therefore if You will do homage to and worship me [just once], it shall all be Yours.

Wuest  As for you therefore, if you will fall upon your knees before me and touch the ground with your forehead as an expression of profound and reverential worship, all shall be yours.


Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 

Therefore - term of conclusion 

If You worship before me - As explained below the verb the devil uses conveys not only the thought of the act of worship like we do on Sunday, but also alludes to the position of worship, for the root word means to bow down or prostrate oneself before another! The word prostrate means stretched out and lying at full length along the ground as an act of submission! What utter arrogance that the devil would even have to gall to make such a request, knowing full well that Jesus was the created of everything, including the devil himself! Perhaps the deceiver is himself just that sick and deceived (cp 2 Ti 3:13-note). This is the price the devil will charge to give "world authority" to Jesus, Who will one day return as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16-note)! In this temptation the devil is calling on Jesus to break the first commandment in Ex 20:3.  As a hypothetical aside, Satan is a liar and "does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him" (Jn 8:44), therefore one wonders if any of his so-called promises were trustworthy? I personally doubt it! 

NET Note on "if" - This is a third class condition: "If you worship me (and I am not saying whether you will or will not)…"

Worship (bow down) (4352)(proskuneo from pros = before + kuneo = kiss or adore) means to prostrate oneself in homage before another in the full sense of worship, not mere reverence or courtesy. Proskuneo represents the most common Near Eastern act of adoration and reverence and also carries the idea of profound awe and respect. The word proskuneo literally means to kiss toward someone, to throw a kiss in token of respect or homage, to prostrate oneself in homage, to do reverence to, to adore and so to worship and show respect. In the ancient Oriental (especially Persia) the mode of salutation between persons of equal rank was to kiss each other on the lips. When the difference of rank was slight, they kissed each other on the cheek. When one was much inferior, he fell upon his knees touched his forehead to the ground or prostrated himself, and as he was bowing down he would be throwing kisses toward the superior. It is this latter mode of salutation that is intended by the Greek writers in the use of the verb proskuneo. Luke used proskuneo in Acts 7:45 in Stephen's description of Israel's idol worship even after deliverance from Egypt (Acts 7:43). In Acts 10:25 Cornelius attempted to worship Peter but Peter refused the worship declaring " I too am just a man." (Acts 10:26) Luke used proskuneo twice to describe worship in Jerusalem (presumably at the Temple) (Acts 8:27, 24:11).

Satan is tempting Jesus to take the crown without the cross. Jesus refuses and accepts the cross and receives the worship as described by Luke

And they (His disciples), after worshiping (proskuneo) Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, (Luke 24:52-note)

It shall all be Yours - Jesus obviously knew Scripture and so He undoubtedly knew truths revealed in the Messianic Psalm 2 in which the Father promised Him the very thing with which the Devil attempted to entice Him!

“But as for Me (God the Father is speaking), I have installed My King (Christ) Upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.  Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. (Psalm 2:6-8)

So in a sense, Satan is attempting to put himself in the place of the Father, the ultimate blasphemy against the Most High God, the only Living God!

Steven Cole comments that "Like a clever salesman, Satan sets out his wares without mentioning the price tag. He always shows the pleasures of sin (which are real), but he doesn’t mention the stiff consequences that inevitably follow. “Worship me and I’ll give you dominion over all the kingdoms of the earth.” Sounds good! But he fails to mention that Jesus will then be the servant of Satan, not of the Father, that the holy union between Father and Son will be forever broken and that Jesus’ mission as Savior will be ruined. Satan still works that way: “Give in and enjoy the pleasures of sex like all your friends are doing! Why deprive yourself? Life is short, this may be your only opportunity.” He doesn’t mention the risk of venereal disease (including AIDS), or pregnancy, or the spiritual and emotional consequences of giving yourself to someone outside of God’s design of lifelong marriage. He dangles before you the good feelings of taking drugs or getting drunk, but he hides the ruined lives of the drug addict or drunkard on the streets. And, of course, he never sets before you the eternal wrath of God! (Sermon)

Matthew 4:1-11
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal told of a man living in Taiwan who claims the title of governor of Fukien Province. The problem is that Fukien, which is on the Chinese mainland, already has a governor who rules the affairs of its 27 million citizens. The other man's claim goes back to 1949, when the Nationalists fled China for Taiwan (then known as Formosa) after their defeat by the Chinese Communists.

The bottom line is that this Taiwanese man's claim to rule Fukien Province is essentially worthless. He has an office and a staff and carries on as if he were governor. But he has no real authority to rule at all.

Satan has also been carrying on as if he were a legitimate ruler. But at the temptation of Christ Satan's claims were proven to be false, and he was exposed as a temporary usurper.

The analogy doesn't hold at every point, of course. Unlike the ""governor"" in today's illustration, Satan does have real power. And at least for now, the kingdoms of the unbelieving world do lie in the devil's lap. But one day Jesus Christ will return as Ruler of all.

The temptation of Christ is an example of spiritual warfare without parallel. We can only read the text and watch awestruck as Jesus engages Satan in face-to-face battle. We do not believe that it was even possible for the sinless Son of God to yield to Satan's offers.

For that we can be eternally grateful! Whereas Adam and Eve had fallen to the serpent's temptation, there in the desert Jesus refused the temptation to bypass the cross. He also refused to go outside of the Father's will for His physical needs of food and protection.

We will never be tested to the same degree or with the same effects as Jesus was tested. But because He experienced temptation, He is sympathetic to us in our need (Heb. 4:14-16). And we can imitate Jesus' example by drawing on God's Word to refute and defeat Satan.
If you want to turn today into an extraordinary Monday, consider the benefits available to you because Jesus endured and triumphed over temptation.

Luke 4:8  Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"

  • Get (KJV): Mt 4:10 16:23 Jas 4:7 1Pe 5:9 
  • for (KJV): Lu 4:4 De 6:13 10:20 Mt 4:10 Rev 19:10 22:9 
  • only (KJV): 1Sa 7:3 2Ki 19:15 Ps 83:18 Isa 2:11 

Wuest  And Jesus answering said to him, It has been written and is at present on record, You shall worship the Lord your God, and to Him only you shall render sacred service.


Worship is intimately linked to service. If we worship God on Sunday, but are not willing to serve Him enabled by His Spirit  Monday through Saturday, then our worship is at best "defective" and at worst hypocritical!

It is written - Wuest "It has been written and is at present on record." It is written and remains on record (eternally).

Jesus is quoting Deut 6:13

"You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name."  

But He adds a phrase from the Septuagint (Lxx) translation of Deut 6:13 which says the "Him (the LORD) you shall serve" (kai auto latreuseis).

Why did Jesus add this phrase from the Septuagint? 

Warren Wiersbe answers the question just posed noting that "Satan had said nothing about service, but Jesus knew that whatever we worship, we will serve. Service to the Lord is true freedom, but service to Satan is terrible bondage. God's pattern is to start with suffering and end with glory (1 Peter 5:10-note), while Satan's pattern is to start with glory and end with suffering. Satan wants us to sacrifice the eternal for the temporary and take the "easy way." (Ed: Beloved don't be enticed by the passing pleasures of sin - Heb 11:25-note) (The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1) 

Shall...serve 3000) (latreuo from latris = one hired or latron = reward, wages) means to work for reward, for hire or for pay, to be in servitude, render cultic service. Latreuo was used literally for bodily service (e.g., workers on the land, or slaves), and figuratively for “to cherish.” In the NT the idea is to render service to God, to worship, to perform sacred services or to minister to God in a spirit of worship (in fact in the NT uses below, note several passages clearly associate worship with serving.). 

Jesus would not short circuit the Cross for the seductive, passing glory of the kingdoms of this world. Jesus clearly understood His mission as shown by His declaration that His glory would follow His Cross

Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things (THE CROSS) and to enter into His glory (THE CROWN)? (Lk 24:26-note)

Technical note - 'Most MSS, especially the later ones (A Θ Ψ 0102 f13 𝔐 it), have “Get behind me, Satan!” at the beginning of the quotation. This roughly parallels Matt 4:10 (though the Lukan MSS add ὀπίσω μου to read ὕπαγε ὀπίσω μου, σατανᾶ [hupage opisō mou, satana]); for this reason the words are suspect as a later addition to make the two accounts agree more precisely. A similar situation occurred in Lk 4:5." (NET Note)

J Vernon McGee - What is Satan really saying to our Lord? His implication is this: “You are on the way to the throne, and I know You are going by way of the Cross. I have a detour for You. You can miss the horror of the Cross and come to the throne without the Cross.” May I say to you, that is without doubt the most satanic insinuation in the world. This same appeal to the mind has gotten into the pulpits of America today, that we should be intellectual, that we should not preach the death of Christ, that the cross of Christ should not be held up. Yet the most brilliant of them all came yonder to Corinth, the city that boasted of its Greek philosophy. This man Paul, who knew their philosophy better than they knew it, came and said to them:   For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)
And he said:   For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.  (1 Corinthians 1:18)
But he said, “That’s what I preach.” And, my friend, if Christ went by way of the Cross because it was necessary, then I’ll preach the Cross because it is necessary for your salvation and mine. There’s no other way. No other way.
Dr. Edward Judson, the son of Adoniram Judson, who headed up the mission after his father’s death, made this observation: “My father suffered greatly in Burma, and as a result there has come into existence all these great missionary agencies of this day.” And then he made this remarkable statement: “If you get anything without suffering, it’s because somebody else suffered for you. And if you suffer and do not succeed, somebody else will get something because you suffered.” Oh, what a glorious, wonderful truth that is. It contradicts the philosophy of Satan: “Miss the Cross; You don’t need the Cross—it’s not essential. You can come to the throne without the Cross.” Our Lord said, and will you notice this:   And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”  (Luke 4:8)
Oh, Satan left out something. Satan said, “If You will worship me only for a moment, I’ll give You the kingdom.” Our Lord said in effect, “You left out something. You cannot worship without serving. If I worship you, I’ll serve you. And we are to worship God only, and Him only are we to serve.”
May I say to you, this is a mistake that even some Christians are making today. They think they can serve God on Sunday, and maybe through certain Christian agencies, but that they can live their own lives to suit themselves. My friend, you cannot do that. It’s impossible. Listen to Paul in Romans 6:16: Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
Don’t you know, my friend, that whomever you obey, whatever livery or uniform you wear, you are the servant of that one? If you are serving sin, then sin is your master. Don’t fool yourself. I stood in front of my office window one day and looked across the street at the California Club. There were about fifteen chauffeurs standing and chatting. Walking very briskly, a man came out of the club. I couldn’t hear what he said, but he lifted a finger and spoke something. Immediately one chauffeur withdrew from the crowd, went over and opened the door of the car, and the man got in. Then the chauffeur went around the car, got in the driver’s seat, and drove off. So I came to the profound conclusion that he and no one else in the crowd was that man’s chauffeur because the one you obey is your master. The others didn’t obey him. My friend, today when you serve sin, sin is your master. Our Lord says you are to worship only God, and Him only are you to serve. You can’t worship Him without serving Him. And if you’re serving sin you cannot worship God. (Jesus: Centerpiece of Scripture)

Deuteronomy 6:1-15 - Who Is On The Throne?
According to English poet Oliver Reynolds, an old man had a family altar where he burned incense to an engraving of Napoleon. When asked why he worshiped the picture as a god, the man replied that he would worship anything.

Imagine venerating a picture of that French general! Imagine burning incense to the portrait of a human being who has no meaningful relationship to his worshipers! That’s idolatry at its worst! We don’t think of ourselves as idolaters, of course, but are we in subtle ways disobeying God’s commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me”? (Exodus 20:3). We would never dream of bowing down to the picture of any mortal, however famous or powerful. But who is on the throne of our hearts? Are we giving a loved one first place in our lives? Is that person number one in our affections? Maybe we’re worshiping money. Or perhaps our job is our top priority. Jesus said, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Luke 4:8). Are we worshiping and serving only Him?

Spend some time alone with God to examine your heart. Make sure that you haven’t become an idolater. —V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread)

Unless we worship only God
Our lives cannot be truly free;
For we were made for Him alone—
All else is but idolatry. —D. De Haan

An idol is anything that takes the place of God.

Luke 4:9  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 from here;   

Amplified (2015)  Then he led Jesus to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle (highest point) of the temple, and said [mockingly] to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; 10 for it is written and forever remains written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard and protect You,’

NET Then the devil brought him to Jerusalem, had him stand on the highest point of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 

Wuest  And he brought Him into Jerusalem, and stood Him upon the wing of the temple, and said to Him, In view of the fact that you are Son of God by virtue of your participation in the divine essence, hurl yourself down from this place, 

And (kai) - The NET Bible translates the Greek conjunction kai  as then (see note on "then" as an expression of time) to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

And he led Him to Jerusalem - The verb for led is ago which means to take along, to lead as when conducing someone somewhere (first use = Mt 10:18 of fate of disciples). This is Luke's second use of ago in this chapter, the first time in his description that Jesus was "led around (ago) by the Spirit" (Lk 4:1-note). Mark it down -- a man led by the Spirit is not likely to be led (better "misled") by the devil! In Luke 4:29-note the Jews drove Jesus out of the city and "led (ago) Him to the brow of the hill," in order to throw Him down the cliff and kill Him! Satan tried unsuccessfully to lead Jesus to reject the Father's will and to thereby to sin and besmirch His value as the sinless Lamb of God. Then a group of Jews who were under the dominion of Satan (cp Acts 26:18-note and in who's minds he undoubtedly had sent fiery missiles) also tried unsuccessfully to kill the Lamb of God! Notice how Luke 4:13-note refers to a "an opportune time," and Luke 4:29 is one of those times the devil saw as an opportunity to do away with his "nemesis." Jesus would not be deterred from accomplishing the work the Father had given Him (Jn 4:34, Jn 17:4) and until He fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah when finally "HE WAS LED (ago) AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH." (Acts 8:32 fulfilling Isa 53:7)

Matthew's version has "Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple." (Matthew 4:5) The verb for took is paralambano which means to take with one in order to carry away (Also used in Mt 4:8 and Mt 27:27). Jesus uses paralambano in His description of the glorious Rapture in John 14:3 - "I will come again and receive you to Myself"! Vincent adds this note on paralambano - "The preposition para (with, by the side of), implies take along with himself, or conduct. It is the same word which all three evangelists use of our Lord’s taking his chosen apostles to the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt. 17:1; Mk 9:2; Lk 9:28).

And had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple Wuest has "and stood Him upon the wing of the temple."

Pinnacle (4419)(pterugion = diminutive of ptérux) means literally a little wing and figuratively as in the only NT uses (Lk 4:9, Mt 4:5) refers to anything like a wing, and hence signifies the pointed extremity of anything (tip, edge, apex, summit). It is the outermost or farthest point either vertically or horizontally. Pterugion is anything shaped like a wing and thus which come to a point as does a fin on a fish (Lxx for fin = pterugion in Lev. 11:9, 10, 12); the corner or skirt of a garment (Nu 15:38; 1 Sa 24:5). 

Thayer on pterugion - some understand this of the top or apex of the sanctuary (tou/ naou/), others of the top of Solomon's porch, and others of the top of the Royal Portico; this last Josephus (Antiquities 15, 11, 5) says was of such great height 

Pterugion - 13 verses in the Septuagint - Ex. 39:19; Lev. 11:9; Lev. 11:10; Lev. 11:12; Nu 15:38; Dt. 14:9; Dt. 14:10; Ru 3:9; 1 Sam. 15:27; 1 Sa 24:4-5, 11 (edge of Saul's robe); 1 Ki. 6:24

Ruth 3:9-note He (Boaz) said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering (Hebrew = kanaph = wing, figuratively = garment, covering; Lxx = pterugion) over your maid, for you are a close relative.”

See excellent schematic diagram of Temple Mount at the Time of Jesus -  "the pinnacle of the temple is probably the southeast corner of the temple area [Ed: It would be the corner pointing toward you as you view the diagram], the top of which was some 300 feet (91 m) above the floor of the Kidron Valley." (ESV Note)  See also Justin Taylor's article with pictures of the Temple in Jesus' day

Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 15 writes 

but the fourth front of the temple, which was southward, had indeed itself gates in its middle, as also it had the royal cloisters, with three walks, which reached in length from the east valley unto that on the west, for it was impossible it should reach any farther:  412 and this cloister deserves to be mentioned better than any other under the sun; for while the valley was very deep, and its bottom could not be seen, if you looked from above into the depth, this further vastly high elevation of the cloister stood upon that height, insomuch that if any one looked down from the top of the battlements, or down both those altitudes, he would be giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth. (Bolding added)

If You are the Son of God - First class conditional assumes this is true of Jesus. Wuest paraphrases it "In view of the fact that you are the Son of God by virtue of your participation in the divine essence." 

Throw Yourself down - The verb ballo (to throw or cast) is a command in the aorist imperative, a command that conveys a sense of urgency so the idea "Just do it!" "Just jump!" "Don't delay!" "Obey now!" What devilish arrogance to command God the Son to obey and in so doing to disavow His obedience to the will of His Father!

Kent Hughes comments that "By urging (Ed: commanding) Jesus to jump, Satan was trying to take advantage of Jesus’ twice-voiced determination to trust and obey God’s Word—“You are committed to obeying God’s Word, so obey this!”"....There may even have been a messianic overtone in Satan’s challenge because a later Rabbinic saying read: “Our teachers have taught, when the King, the Messiah, reveals himself, he will come and stand on the roof of the Temple” (Pesiqta rabbati, 36). Add to this the tendency of the godly to be attracted by the challenge to “step out in faith” and you can feel the tug of the temptation. In fact, refusal or even hesitancy in such situations could appear to be a lack of faith. It was a powerful, beguiling temptation. Satan was saying, in effect, “In the first temptations you have shown your trust in God’s Word. You are a faithful man—Psalm 91 is you! This is what the people are looking for in a Messiah. You are a man of faith, aren’t you? Just jump, and the whole world will see who you really are!” Really? Jesus thought otherwise. He knew that he had no word from the Father directing him to leap off the temple. He again recognized that as God’s Son he must never do anything in his own power, for that would be putting God to the test. (Preaching the Word - Luke)

Marvin Vincent's lengthy comment on pinnacle of the TemplePinnacle, from the Latin Pinnaculum, a diminutive of pinna or penna (a wing), is a literal translation of pterugion, which is also a diminutive (a little wing or winglet). Nothing in the word compels us to infer that Christ was placed on the top of a tower or spire, which is the popular meaning of pinnacle. The word may be used in the familiar English sense of the wing of a building. Herod’s temple had two wings, the northern and southern, of which the southern was the higher and grander; that being the direction in which the chief enlargement of the temple area made by Herod was practicable. That enlargement, according to Josephus, was effected by building up walls of solid masonry from the valley below. At the extremity of the southern side of the area, was erected the “royal portico,” a magnificent colonnade, consisting of a nave and two aisles, running across the entire space from the eastern to the western wall. Josephus further says, that “while the valley of itself was very deep, and its bottom could scarcely be seen when one looked down from above, the additional vastly high elevation of the portico was placed on that height, insomuch that, if any one looked down from the summit of the roof, combining the two altitudes in one stretch of vision, he would be giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth.” This, in comparison with the northern wing, was so emphatically the wing of the temple as to explain the use of the article here, as a well-known locality. The scene of the temptation may have been (for the whole matter is mainly one of conjecture) the roof of this portico, at the southeastern angle, where it joined Solomon’s Porch, and from which the view into the Kidron valley beneath was to the depth of four hundred and fifty feet. The word temple (hieron, lit., sacred place) signifies the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, with its porticos, courts, and other subordinate buildings; and should be carefully distinguished from the other word, naos, also rendered temple, which means the temple itself—the “Holy Place” and the “Holy of Holies.” When we read, for instance, of Christ teaching in the temple (hieron) we must refer it to one of the temple-porches. So it is from the ἱερόν, the court of the Gentiles, that Christ expels the money-changers and cattle-merchants. In Matt. 27:51, it is the veil of the naos which is rent; the veil separating the holy place from the holy of holies. In the account of Zacharias entering into the temple of the Lord to burn incense (Luke 1:9), the word is naos, the holy place in which the altar of incense stood. The people were “without,” in the fore-courts. In John 2:21, the temple of his body, ἱερόν would be obviously inappropriate.


  • it (KJV): Lu 4:3,8 2Co 11:14 
  • He (KJV): Ps 91:11,12 Heb 1:14 

Amplified (classic)  For it is written, He will give His angels charge over you to guard and watch over you closely and carefully;

Amplified (2015)  for it is written and forever remains written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard and protect You,’

Wuest  for it has been written and at present is on record, To His angels He shall give a charge concerning you, to carefully guard you, 


It is written  - Remember that every use of the phrase it is written (Lk 4:4, 8, 10, 17) is in the perfect tense which indicates it has been written down at a point in time in the past and it remains on record. So even the verb tense emphasizes the permanence (eternality) of the the Word of God. Even the devil knows the Word of God has been written down and it stands forever! 

NET Note - This was not so much an incorrect citation as a use in a wrong context (a misapplication of the passage).

Comment on NET Note: Actually it was a misquotation, because the devil deleted or left out the phrase "in all your ways." See comments on the significance of this deletion in the notes on Luke 4:11. This misquotation and misapplication does make the point that all of us have to be very careful in our study of Scripture, lest we fail to observe the text accurately, which will lead potentially to misinterpretation which in turn will lead to an incorrect or inappropriate application as in this present passage. All this to say if you desire to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Ti 2:15-note), the best Bible study method I have discovered in the last 30 years is inductive Bible study which places heavy emphasis on careful, prayerful, Spirit filled observation which facilitates accurate Interpretation, which in turn leads to correct personal Application as commanded by James 1:22-note

First, note that the devil knows Scripture. That means you and I had better know Scripture (cf inductive Bible study, Meditate, Primer on Biblical MeditationMemorizing His WordMemory Verses by Topic). Paul said God's Word was vital in our struggle against rulers and powers in heavenly places, for it is the "sword of the Spirit," (Eph 6:17), our major offensive weapon along with "all prayer at all times" (Eph 6:18-note).

Second, note that the devil perverts Scripture. The passage the devil quotes in Lk 4:10, 11 is from Ps 91:11,12 which reads

"For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone." 

Comment: As discussed in notes on Luke 4:11, the devil "subtracts" from the original verse thus distorting its true meaning!

For - Always ponder this term of explanation asking what it explains. In this context it introduces the devil's lying logic that Jesus could confidently jump from the pinnacle of the Temple and not be harmed, but as Jesus said "Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (Jn 8:44)

Guard (1314)(diaphulasso from dia = intensifies meaning + phulasso = to guard, like a sentry at his post) means to preserve carefully, carefully guard, to watch over to protect in order to keep safe and/or protect from harm. Diaphulasso was often used in magical literature to appeal to a supernatural kind of protection associated with amulets, a satanic counterfeit to the truth of divine angelic protection for God's obedient children! Luke 4:10 is the only use in the NT (Mt 4:6 lacks this clause) but there are 14 uses in the Septuagint and some are very instructive as discussed below.

Jehovah promises Jacob

“Behold, I am with you and will keep (Heb =  shamar; Lxx = diaphulasso) you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Ge 28:15) Jacob responded to this truth Moses recording "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep ((Heb =  shamar; Lxx = diaphulasso) me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the LORD will be my God." (Ge 28:20-21)

In Deuteronomy God associates His hand of protection with Israel's obedience,  Moses writing

"Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep (Heb =  shamar; Lxx = diaphulasso) with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers." (Dt. 7:12)

Again in Deuteronomy Moses describes Jehovah's protection of Jacob (the Nation of Israel) -

"For the LORD’S portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.  He found him in a desert land, And in the howling (howling is from verbal root referring to wailing of mourners) waste of a wilderness; He encircled him (what a great word picture of Jehovah all around!), He cared for him, He guarded (Lxx = diaphulasso) him as the pupil of His eye." (Dt 32:9-10)

In some of the last words of Joshua to Israel (last words are always important words when spoken by godly men!) he charged them to choose who they would serve, the gods or THE GOD (Joshua 24:15), to which they responded...

The people answered and said, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved (Lxx = diaphulasso) us through all the way in which we went and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed. (Jos 24:16, 17)

Comment: This generation of Israel remained faithful in part because they heeded Joshua's charge and in part because they remembered Jehovah's deliverance and careful protection. But in the Book of Judges we read a sad commentary that  "All that generation (those who responded in Josh 24:16, 17) also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals." (Jdg 2:10,11-note) They did not know the Person or the Works of God! 

Here are other uses of diaphulasso in the Lxx that speak of the Lord's careful protection of those who belong to Him. 

The LORD will protect (Heb =  shamar; Lxx = diaphulasso) him and keep him alive, And he shall be called blessed upon the earth; And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies. (Ps 41:2)

Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves (Heb =  shamar; Lxx = diaphulasso) the way of His godly ones.  (Pr 2:8)

Diaphulasso - 14v - Gen. 28:15; Gen. 28:20; Lev. 19:20; Deut. 7:12; Deut. 32:10; Jos. 24:17; Job 2:6; Ps. 31:6; Ps. 41:2; Ps. 91:11; Prov. 2:8; Prov. 6:24; Jer. 3:5; Hos. 12:13; Zech. 3:7; Lk. 4:10

The devil wants Jesus to rely on special divine protection and in so doing to "test" the Lord's promise to protect. 

So while the devil twisted the truth in Psalm 91:11-12, it is a truth that believers can and should rest in as if a pillow for our head. Indeed, they are well kept whom God keeps. The believer's security is not the absence of danger, but the presence of God, no matter what the danger. And so we can confidently sing the words of Augustus M Toplady's hymn

A sovereign Protector I have,
Unseen, yet for ever at hand,
Unchangeably faithful to save,
Almighty to rule and command.

He smiles, and my comforts abound;
His grace as the dew shall descend;
And walls of salvation surround
The soul He delights to defend.

Here are some other quotes that relate to God's hand of protection promised to obedient believers in Psalm 91:11-12...

  • If the Father has the kingdom ready for us, he will take care of us on the way. -- Andrew Bonar
  • Should storms of sevenfold thunder roll, And shake the globe from pole to pole; No flaming bolt could daunt my face, For Jesus is my hiding-place. -- Jehoiada Brewer
  • If God has said, ‘I will never leave,’ we may well say, ‘What shall man do? ‘ -- John Brown
  • Anyone who has the firm conviction that he will never be forsaken by the Lord will not be unduly anxious, because he will depend on his providence. -- John Calvin
  • Nothing is more foolish than a security built upon the world and its promises, for they are all vanity and a lie. -- Matthew Henry
  • Everyone who is a man of God has omnipotence as his guardian, and God will sooner empty heaven of angels than leave a saint without defence. -- C. H. Spurgeon

This only can my fears control,
And bid my sorrows fly;
What harm can ever reach my soul
Beneath my Father’s eye?
Anne Steele



Wuest  and also, In their hands they shall lift you up and carry you lest at any time you strike your foot against a stone. 

Some writers (A T Robertson, NET Note) say the devil did not misquote Ps 91:11-12, but I would beg to disagree. Robertson does add (and I agree) that the devil "misapplies it and makes it mean presumptuous reliance on God." I agree with Warren Wiersbe who writes "Of course, he (devil) misquoted the promise (Ps 91:11,12) and besides he omitted “in all thy ways.”

So here is how the devil quoted it


And here is the original verse in Psalm 91:11-12 with the devil's deceptive deletion highlighted in yellow...

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone. 

Do you see what the devil is doing? He is disregarding a cardinal rule in interpretation of God's Word in Dt 4:2-note which instructs us to neither add to or subtract from the Word of God. The Devil "subtracted" from the Word which in effect turns the text into a pretext. The Oxford Dictionary says a pretext is "a reason given in justification of a course of action that is not the real reason." Recall that Ge 3:1 says "the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made." So he is very deft at juggling and misusing the Word!

The goal of this temptation was to entice Jesus to renounce the way of His Father and to substitute the way of Satan.

In the Garden of Eden, the devil added an overt lie in keeping with his nature (Jn 8:44) declaring "You surely will not die!" (Ge 3:4-note) Then Eve compounded the problem by adding to the Word stating that "God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” (Ge 3:3) God had said nothing about touching the tree (cp Ge 2:16, 17). And so she was ensnared, and she and Adam ate and sin entered the perfect world.

In the wilderness temptation the Devil,  in misquoting Ps 91:11, is attempting to entice Jesus to disobey the will of His Father and commit a sin (sin is basically acting contrary to the will of God). In other words the devil was attempting to deceive Jesus to go His own way, not His Father's way, and to go His own way would have been sin and would have nullified Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross, for a sinless sacrifice was demanded. 

PRINCIPLE - When all our ways are in God's will, we can claim the promise of His angels guarding over us, but if we are walking in willful sin and spiritual darkness, the domain of Satan, we cannot expect God to guard us in our wayward way! 

Warren Wiersbe comments on Satan's subtle snare in using the Word of God just as Jesus had done in Luke 4:4 and Luke 4:8 writing "So You intend to live by the Scriptures, he implied. Then let me quote You a verse of Scripture and see if You will obey it! Satan took the Lord Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple, probably 500 feet above the Kidron Valley. Satan then quoted from Ps 91:11-12 where God promised to care for His own. If You really believe the Scriptures, then jump! Lets see if the Father cares for You!....Satan had cleverly omitted the phrase in all Thy ways when he quoted from Psalm 91:11. When the child of God is in the will of God, the Father will protect him. He watches over those who are in His ways. (Bible Exposition Commentary - comments on Matthew)

Eve when tempted by the devil in a perfect environment, did not know the word perfectly. Jesus when tempted in a wildness, did know the word of God perfectly and so was able to detect Satan's subtle trap.

PRINCIPLE - We must diligently seek to memorize the Scriptures word perfect, so that we can (aided by the Spirit) subtle subtraction or addition to the Word of God. 

William MacDonald adds that the promise of protection in Ps 91:11-13 "presupposed living in Gods will. To claim the promise in an act of disobedience would be tempting God. The time would come when Jesus would be revealed as Messiah, but the cross must come first. The altar of sacrifice must precede the throne. The crown of thorns must precede the crown of glory. Jesus would await God's time and would accomplish Gods will." 

C H Spurgeon comments that the qualifying phrase in all Thy ways emphasizing that this phrase "is no limit (boundary or restriction) to the heart which is right with God. It is not the way of the believer to go out of His way. (Ed: Notice the following order) He keeps in His way, and then the angels keep him. How angels thus keep us we cannot tell. Whether they repel demons, counteract spiritual plots, or even ward off the subtler physical forces of disease, we do not know. Perhaps we shall one day stand amazed at the multiplied services which the unseen bands have rendered to us. (Amen to that last statement!)

Adam Clarke that for those who walk in all Thy ways "Evil spirits may attempt to injure you; but they shall not be able. The angels of God shall have a special charge to accompany, defend, and preserve you; and against their power, the influence of evil spirits cannot prevail. These (angels) will, when necessary, turn your steps out of the way of danger; ward it off when it comes in your ordinary path; suggest to your mind prudent counsels, profitable designs, and pious purposes; and thus minister to you as a child of God, and an heir of salvation. The path of duty is the way of safety. We cannot reasonably expect protection if we do not walk in the way of obedience. Our ways are the paths of duty, which God's word and providence have marked out for us. The way of sin is not our way, our duty, our interest. Keep in your own ways, not in those of sin, Satan, the world, and the flesh; and God will take care of you!". 

The writer of Hebrews asks this fitting rhetorical question...

Are they (the angels) not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (ANSWER? YES!) (Hebrews 1:14-note)

Luke 4:12  And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'"

  •  Thou (KJV): De 6:16 Ps 95:9 106:14 Mal 3:15 Mt 4:7 1Co 10:9 Heb 3:8,9 

Amplified (2015)  Jesus replied to him, “It is said [in Scripture], ‘you shall not tempt the Lord your God [to prove Himself to you].’”

Wuest  And Jesus answering said to him, It has been said and is at present on record, You shall not put the Lord your God to an all-out test. 

It is said - Instead of it is written. The Amplified Version has “It is said [in Scripture]". Jesus is applying what He had earlier said in Mt 4:4 "‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” So here once again Jesus resorts to the Living and Powerful Word, and in so doing is showing us one way to live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

A T Robertson on it is saidPerfect passive indicative, (which conveys the sense of) stands said, a favorite way of quoting Scripture in the NT. In Mt 4:7 we have the usual “it is written”.

Jesus here (and in Mt 4:7) quotes from Deuteronomy 6:16  

You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah (means "to test or try")."

If Jesus had jumped off the Temple, He would have "put God on the spot" so to speak, forcing Him to act. This would have been presumptuously "testing" His Father which is something He refused to do. 

Hughes rightly says that "Even the very highest and best ends do not justify operating contrary to God’s will....This message is essential for us today. Willful swan dives test the LORD—diving into a marital relationship that does not have the approval of God’s Word (Ed: Most of us know individuals where this brought about disastrous results and usually ended in divorce!); misapplying Scripture with disastrous consequences, then crying out for God to catch us before we hit bottom; rationalizing a headstrong plunge by saying, “If this works, God will receive great glory. Just think of the souls that will be saved. God, you have to be in this—you just have to!” True, he specializes in picking up the pieces, but we must not test him through rationalized disobedience." (Ibid)

NET Note on putting God to the test - The point is that God’s faithfulness should not be put to the test, but is rather a given.

A T Robertson quoting Plummer - "Jesus points out to the devil that testing God is not trusting God." Do we ever test God? I am afraid we do, when we do something presumptuously, assuming it is His will, when we have not even taken time to prayerfully commune with Him to be sure it is His will. Father forgive us!

Put to the test (1598)(ekpeirazo from ek = intensifies + peirazo = to test, tempt) means to test thoroughly, subject to test or proof. To test in order to understand the quality of something, including imperfections, faults or other qualities.

Ekpeirazo is used in Mt 4:7 for putting God to the test, where Jesus quotes Dt 6:16.

Ekpeirazo is used one other time in the Septuagint of Israel putting God to the test

Psalm 78:18 And in their heart they put God to the test (Lxx = ekpeirazo) By asking food according to their desire. (cp Ps 106:14, 15 where Lxx uses peirazo) 

. Here are two other uses of ekperizo in which men were putting God to the test...

Luke 10:25  And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

1 Corinthians 10:9  Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents (Nu 21:4-9, 5 "The people spoke against God and Moses")

Wiersbe on putting God to the test -  When a child of God is in the will of God, he can claim the Father's protection and care. But if he willfully gets into trouble and expects God to rescue him, then he is tempting God. (For an example of this, see Ex. 17:1-7.) We tempt God when we "force" Him (or dare Him) to act contrary to His Word. It is a dangerous thing to try God's patience, even though He is indeed long-suffering and gracious. (Bible Exposition Commentary-Luke)

Wiersbe in his comments in Matthew 4:1-11 writes "We tempt God when we put ourselves into circumstances that force Him to work miracles on our behalf. The diabetic who refuses to take insulin and argues, “Jesus will take care of me,” may be tempting the Lord. We tempt God when we try to force Him to contradict His own Word. It is important for us as believers to read all Scripture, and study all God has to say, for all of it is profitable for daily life (2 Ti 3:16,17-note)." (Bible Exposition Commentary - Matthew)

From the time John the Baptist declared Christ to be "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), Satan tried to keep our Lord from going to the cross. In the wilderness temptation he suggested that Jesus take the kingdoms of the world without the ordeal of Calvary. He incited the Jewish leaders to hate Christ, hoping they might kill Him by stoning. When these attempts failed, he switched tactics. He induced Peter to speak against God's plan, and he "entered" Judas (John 13:27). He prompted Peter's denials of Jesus, the cowardice of the apostles, the brutality of the soldiers, and the heartlessness of the mob. Through all of this he hoped to convince Jesus that mankind wasn't worth dying for. Satan lost that battle, but he continues to fight. He does all he can to hinder the spread of the gospel. He even uses religions that pro-mote salvation by works and ritual. Despite his efforts, thousands are being saved through faith in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. They can joyfully sing, "Hallelujah for the Cross," because the cross and the empty tomb spelled Satan's ultimate defeat. —H. V. Lugt

Calvary stands for Satan's fall.

Luke 4:13  When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

  •  Mt 4:11  Jn 14:30 Heb 4:15 Jas 4:7 

Amplified (classic)  And when the devil had ended every [the complete cycle of] temptation, he [temporarily] left Him [that is, stood off from Him] until another more opportune and favorable time.

NET  So when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until a more opportune time.

KJV  And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

CSB  After the Devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him for a time.

ESV  And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

NLT  When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.

GWN  After the devil had finished tempting Jesus in every possible way, the devil left him until another time.

NAB  When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

Wuest  And having completed every test and solicitation to sin, the devil stood off from Him until a more propitious time.


He left Him - Amplified = "he (temporarily) left Him (that is, stood off from Him)."

Until an opportune time - Until or up to the time of his next opportunity.

James 4:7 is correct but  Luke 4:13 is the caveat we need to remember.

Submit (aorist imperative - Don't delay! Of course obedience calls for dependence on the Spirit Who even gives us the desire to submit!) therefore to God. Resist (aorist imperative - Don't delay! Again pointing to our need for the Spirit!) the devil and he will flee from you.

Andrew Bonar has a good word for all of the disciples of Jesus - "Let us be as watchful after the victory as before the battle!"

NET Note - Though some have argued that the devil disappears until Luke 22:3, this is unlikely since the cosmic battle with Satan and all the evil angels is consistently mentioned throughout Luke (Lk 8:26–39; 11:14–23). 

I think even in this very chapter (Luke 4) we have a clear example of an opportune time - In Luke 4:29-note the Jews drove Jesus out of the city and "led (ago) Him to the brow of the hill," (even as the devil had led Him to the pinnacle of the Temple in Lk 4:9) in order to throw Him down the cliff and kill Him! Later in this chapter a group of Jews surely under the influence of Satan (cp Acts 26:18-note and into who's minds he had undoubtedly sent fiery missiles to destroy Jesus) were also unsuccessful in their attempt to kill the Lamb of God! Luke 4:29 is one of those times the devil saw as an opportune time to do away with his "nemesis".

Opportune time (2540)(kairos) means a point of time or a period of time, frequently with the implication of a time that is especially fit for something. So in Luke 4:13 kairos means a moment or period which Satan deems to be especially appropriate or favorable for his attack on Jesus. 

A T Robertson - 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 8:40ff.), besides Gethsemane (Luke 22:42, 53). (Ed: And I would add through the Jews who opposed Him, Pilate, Caiaphas, et al. Satan was surely involved in some way in the evil actions of all of these people. See above for my comment just before "opportune time")

Steven Cole comments that

"Jesus’ victory over Satan was not final, and neither is ours. You can win a victory today, but the enemy will bide his time and return another day, especially when you’re most vulnerable. As long as we are in this body, we cannot claim complete and final victory over the world, the flesh, or the devil. Someone has said, “Temptations, unlike opportunities, will always give you many second chances.” Constant vigilance is required. By the way, the Bible commands us to flee certain sins, but to resist the devil. If we put on the full armor of God, we can stand firm in the evil day. But we can’t relax our guard until we are face to face with our Lord Jesus. He has overcome the enemy, and if we depend on Him, we can resist temptation.

A little girl was asked if Satan ever tempted her to do wrong. “Oh, yes,” she replied, “but when he knocks at the door of my heart, I just pray, ‘Lord Jesus, please go to the door for me!’” “What happens then?” she was asked. “Oh, everything turns out all right. When Satan sees Jesus, he runs away every time!” In her simple faith, that little girl realized that even the strongest Christian is no match for the devil. Only Jesus has defeated him, so we must be strong in the strength of our Lord.

F. B. Meyer wrote, “There is only one way by which the tempter can be met. He laughs at our good resolutions and ridicules the pledges with which we fortify ourselves. Satan fears only One, He who in the hour of greatest weakness defeated him and who now has been raised far above all principalities and powers to deliver frail and tempted souls. Christ conquered the prince of this world in the days of His flesh and is prepared to do as much again for each of us as we seek His aid” (in “Our Daily Bread,” 1980).

Jesus’ victory over Satan proves that He is the righteous Son of God, mighty to save all who call upon Him. If we trust in Him as Savior and walk in His strength each day, we can overcome temptation when it hits, as surely it will. (Sermon)

Leon Morris comments that "Throughout these temptations no special resource is open to Jesus. He met temptation in the same way as we must, by using Scripture, and he won the victory (Ed: Morris however omits the a most important truth that Jesus was not just filled with the Word but filled with the Spirit! They Holy Spirit in Jesus enabled Him to stand firm against the unholy spirit, the devil! Notice in Eph 6:10, 11-note where "be strong" [endunamoo from dunamis in present imperative = only way to obey is by continual dependence on the Spirit] is an allusion by Paul to the enabling power or dunamis of the Holy Spirit [cp Acts 1:8-note] with which he had just commanded believers to be continually filled - Eph 5:18-note!). But his temptations were His own, those of the Son of God, not those typical of pious people. Luke rounds off the narrative with Satan decisively beaten. He had ‘finished tempting Jesus in every way’ (NEB), but Jesus had not yielded....The devil left him only ‘till a fresh occasion should present itself’, as Rieu translates. There is no freedom from temptation in this life. There was not for Jesus and there is not for us." (TNTC - Luke)

Kent Hughes closes this section -   As the Son of God, Jesus chose to live in absolute submission to the will of God in every temptation. Jesus’ sole desire was to do what the Father commanded him. Nothing less and nothing more. If this is true for the Son of God, how much more is it true for us adopted children. Jesus would later say, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). We are to live on “every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” We are to “Worship the LORD [our] God and serve him only.” We must never put our “Lord … to the test.” There is much wisdom here for us. First, Jesus resisted these great temptations as a real man. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18-note). We can call upon Christ in times of temptation, for He is at our side. When Martin Luther was asked how he overcame the devil, he replied, “Well, when he comes knocking upon the door of my heart, and asks ‘Who lives here?’ the dear Lord Jesus goes to the door and says, ‘Martin Luther used to live here, but he has moved out. Now I live here.’” When Christ fills our lives, Satan has no entrance. Second, Jesus conquered temptation because he was “full of the Holy Spirit” and “led by the Spirit” (Luke 4:1-note). The fullness of the Spirit produces the nine fruits of the Spirit, the seventh of which is “faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22, 23). The third factor in fighting temptation involves being filled with God’s Word. In response to each of the three temptations, Christ answered with Scripture (Dt 8:3; 6:13, 16). He knew the truth of, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11). This is so because God’s Word reveals God’s mind, and God’s mind cannot be subject to sin. So if we fill our hearts with His Word, sin and temptation cannot dominate us. We cannot live “on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” if we do not know the Word of God. We must follow Jesus’ example and regularly meditate on God’s Word. (Ed comment: First memorize the Word, then trust the Spirit to enable you to meditation on the Word you memorized. Jesus had no I-Phone, no laptop, not even a written Bible, and yet He used the Sword of the Spirit the Word of God three times because He had hidden the Word in His heart -- and don't use the cop out that "Well, He was God, even the Word of God!" Yes, true, but He had laid aside His divine prerogatives so that in His temptation, He could give every believer a pattern that they too could follow. So you have no excuses not to be actively memorizing the Word of God!) (Ibid)

      How firm a foundation,
      Ye saints of the Lord
      Is laid for your faith
      In His excellent Word!
Play Fernando Ortega's great vocal version!

Luke 4:14  And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 

  • returned (KJV): Mt 4:12 Mk 1:14 Joh 4:43 Ac 10:37 
  • in (KJV): Lu 4:1 
  • and there (KJV): Mt 4:23-25 Mk 1:28 

Wuest  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. And a report went out through the whole of the surrounding countryside concerning Him. And He himself was teaching in their synagogues, being extolled by all.


Beloved this verse should be treasured in our hearts, for it is like a "key" which opens the door to wide and effective ministry for the Lord! In fact, failure to use this "key" will result in ministry which is nothing more than "wood, hay, straw!" (1 Cor 3:9-15, 12) Does this sound a bit harsh? Not if one compares it to the Words of our Lord Jesus Who plainly declared to His disciples in the Upper Room the secret for their ministries to be successful...

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

But you might be saying, Jesus did not even mention the Holy Spirit in that verse. While that is true, He did mention the word "abide" and the only way a believer on earth can abide in Jesus is by His Own Spirit, Whom He sent to live within us and to empower us for ministry (cp Acts 1:8). 

Paul understood that the Spirit was the key to bearing fruit (especially saved souls) that remains (like "gold, silver, precious stones" 1 Co 3:12, when inspected at the Bema - 2 Cor 5:10-note) throughout eternity (cp Jesus' promise of fruit that remains in  Jn 15:16)

Not that we are adequate (qualified, sufficient - hikanos) in ourselves to consider ANYTHING as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy (hikanotes) is from God, Who also made us adequate (hikanoo) as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor 3:5-6-note, cp John 6:63) 

Comment: The passages above beg the question, am I ministering in natural or supernatural power, in fleshly power or Holy Spirit empowerment? Your answer makes all the difference in time and eternity (regarding your spiritual "fruit.")

News (pheme) occurs only twice in the NT (Mt 9:26). Though no reason is given for the news events like the ones reported on in Luke 4 seem to be the cause of the attention. 

Luke 4:15  And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.    

  • he (KJV): Lu 4:16 13:10 Mt 4:23 9:35 13:54 Mk 1:39 
  • being (KJV): Isa 55:5 Mt 9:8 Mk 1:27,45 


4:15 Glorifying (doxazomenos). This term means to honor someone or give praise to them ("praised," NW, NASB; NET; "glorified," RSV). Usually it refers to giving honor to God, as was noted with the noun in Luke 2:14. However, sometimes people are meant (Matt. 6:2; 1 Cor. 12:26). Since it is the populace at large giving the honor, it is this later sense that is intended here. The verb is used nine times in Luke and four times in Acts of 60 NT uses. [doxazo]

Luke 4:16  And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 

  • to (KJV): Lu 1:26,27 2:39,51 Mt 2:23 13:54 Mk 6:1 
  • as (KJV): Lu 4:15 2:42  Joh 18:20 Ac 17:2 
  • and stood (KJV): Ac 13:14-16 


Daniel Block  - This is the first of six key Sabbath day events in Luke (Luke 4:31; 6:1-2, 7-9; 13:10-16; 14:1-5). Luke-Acts has 29 of the 68 NT uses. This seventh day of the week was the weekly day of rest and worship for Jews. It with circumcision comprised two of the major distinctive markers of Judaism (clean and unclean food was a third key marker with worship at a single temple as the fourth). The setting apart of the day goes back to the OT (Ex. 23:12; Dt. 5:13-14). The day was held in such high regard in later Judaism, that it was said the day would be observed in hell (b Sanh 65b) and that Messiah would come if Israel kept two Sabbaths perfectly (b Shab 188b).

Luke 4:17  And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

  • the book (KJV): Lu 20:42 Ac 7:42 13:15,27 
  • he had (KJV): [Anaptusso <Strong's G380>,] "unrolled the book;" the Sacred Writings being anciently (as they are still in the synagogues) written on skins of parchment, and rolled on two rollers, beginning on each end, so that in reading from right to left, they rolled off with the left hand while they rolled on with the right.
  • the place (KJV): Isa 61:1-3 


  • Spirit (KJV): Ps 45:7 Isa 11:2-5 42:1-4 50:4 59:21 
  • anointed (KJV): Ps 2:2,6 *marg: Da 9:24 Joh 1:41 Ac 4:27 10:38 
  • to preach (KJV): Lu 6:20 7:22 Isa 29:19 Zep 3:12 Zec 11:11 Mt 5:3 11:5 Jas 2:5 
  • to heal (KJV): 2Ch 34:27 Ps 34:18 51:17 147:3 Isa 57:15 66:2 Eze 9:4 
  • to preach deliverance (KJV): Ps 102:20 107:10-16 146:7 Isa 42:7 45:13 49:9,24,25 52:2,3 Zec 9:11,12 Col 1:13 
  • and (KJV): Ps 146:8 Isa 29:18,19 32:3 35:5 42:16-18 60:1,2 Mal 4:2 Mt 4:16 9:27-30 11:5 Joh 9:39-41 12:46 Ac 26:18 Eph 5:8-14 1Th 5:5,6 1Pe 2:9 1Jn 2:8-10 
  • bruised (KJV): Ge 3:15 Isa 42:3 Mt 12:20 


4:18 Anointed (echrisen). This term comes from a citation Jesus makes of Isaiah 61:1. The reference to Spirit anointing looks back in the Gospel to what took place at the baptism. Acts will also note this act (4:27; 10:38). Jesus is declaring that he fulfills the role Isaiah describes. [chritl

Poor (ptochois). Here is the emphasized audience for Jesus' preaching, the poor. This term has rich OT roots, referring to the persecuted and pious poor as Luke 6:23 also shows (Exod. 22:25-27 [22:24-26 MT]; Ps 14:6 [13:6 LXX]; 22:24 [21:25 LXX]; 69:29 [68:30 DOC]; Isa. 3:14-15). The term has both religious and sociological meaning as piety and faith are placed together with social standing. It is those who have been marginalized by the world for their faith that are most open to the Gospel. In the context of Judaism, this is a call to free the spiritually exiled and persecuted. Their suffering opens them up to the hope. Luke has 10 of 34 NT uses. [ptochos]

To proclaim (keryxai). This verb is used twice in this citation, alongside another verb (euangelisasthai) that speaks of preaching the good news. Luke uses this term nine times in his Gospel. Much of Jesus' role involves his proclaiming release and offering sight to the blind. These descriptions are pictures of what salvation brings. The later line from Isaiah 58:6 at the end of this verse declares that Jesus will actually effect the release he proclaims ("release," NIV; "set free," NASB, NET; "to set at liberty," RSV). Both the proclamation of Jesus and his work refer to release, using the same term aphesis. [korysso]


  •  Lu 19:42 Lev 25:8-13,50-54 Nu 36:4 Isa 61:2 63:4 2Co 6:1 


4:19 Acceptable year of the Lord (eniauton kyriou dekton). This expression is an idiom for the year of Jubilee ("year of the Lord's favor," NET; NW; "acceptable year of the Lord," RSV; "Favorable year of the Lord," NASB). This year was described in the Law as a time every 50 years when all debt was forgiven (Lev. 25:10). This became a figure of spiritual, divine forgiveness in Isaiah 49:8 and 58:5-8. Jesus uses it in this last sense to picture his work as a labor designed to bring divine forgiveness. [dektos + eniautos]

Luke 4:20  And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

  • and he (KJV): Lu 4:17 Mt 20:26-28 
  • and sat (KJV): Lu 5:3 Mt 5:1,2 13:1,2  Joh 8:2 Ac 13:14-16 16:13 
  • And the (KJV): Lu 19:48 Ac 3:12 


4:20 Were fixed (atenizontes). This verb means to look at someone or something intently ("were fastened," NW). It is a term which in this context suggests Jesus' citation generated attention and some emotion. Twelve of the NT's 14 uses of this term are in Luke—Acts. The other use in the Gospel is where a maid stares at Peter during his denials in an effort to figure out if she recognizes him. [atenizo]

Luke 4:21  And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

  •  This day (KJV): Lu 10:23,24 Mt 13:14 Joh 4:25,26 5:39 Ac 2:16-18,29-33 3:18 


4:21 Today (semeron). This term was treated fully in Luke 2:11. In this scene Jesus declares himself to be the figure described in Isaiah 61:1. In other words, the promised new era of deliverance has come. [semeron]

Luke 4:22  And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, "Is this not Joseph's son?"

  • the gracious (KJV): Lu 2:47 21:15 Ps 45:2,4 Pr 10:32 16:21 25:11 Ec 12:10,11 Song 5:16 Isa 50:4 Mt 13:54 Mk 6:2  Joh 7:46 Ac 6:10 Tit 2:8 
  • Is not (KJV): Mt 13:55,56 Mk 6:3  Joh 6:42


4:22 Is this not ...? (ouchi). This interrogative particle expects a positive answer. Thus, the crowd, despite being so impressed and perplexed by Jesus' remarks that they marvel, resolve the situation with the realization that this is a carpenter's son. In other words, someone with this common a background cannot be who he daims to be. [ouchi]

Luke 4:23  And He said to them, "No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, 'Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.'"

  • Physician (KJV): Lu 6:42 Ro 2:21,22 
  • whatsoever (KJV): Mt 4:13,23 11:23,24 Joh 4:48 
  • do (KJV): Joh 2:3,4 4:28 7:3,4 Ro 11:34,35 2Co 5:16 
  • thy country (KJV): Mt 13:54 Mk 6:1 


4:23 Capernaum (Kapharnaoum). This Galilean town located on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee became Jesus' headquarters (BDAG, 537). Its mention here suggests that this synagogue scene was moved up chronologically by Luke (In Matthew, it appears in Matthew 13:53-58). For Jesus has not yet been in Capernaum in Luke's Gospel. In fact, it is the ministry Luke describes next in Luke 4:31-44. The importance of the literary move is that Luke is indicating that this synagogue scene typifies Jesus' ministry in this period and the reaction to him. It may also reflect how Jesus preached in the synagogue in general. Luke refers to this location in 4:31; 7:1; and 10:15. The NT mentions it 16 times. [Kapharnaoum]

Luke 4:24  And He said, "Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.

  •  No (KJV): Mt 13:57 Mk 6:4,5 Joh 4:41,44 Ac 22:3,18-22 


4:24 Acceptable (dektos). The scene has an ironic word play in it that ties back to v. 19. Jesus declares the acceptable year of the Lord there, but he is not acceptable as the Lord's prophet to them, indicating a major opportunity missed for the people ("acceptable," NET; RSV; "accepted," NIV; "welcome," NASB). Jesus explains the historical basis for the remark in v. 24 in the verses that follow. [dektos]

Luke 4:25  "But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land;

  •  many (KJV): Lu 10:21 Isa 55:8 Mt 20:15 Mk 7:26-29 Ro 9:15,20 Eph 1:9,11 
  • when the (KJV): 1Ki 17:1 18:1,2, Elijah, Jas 5:17 


4:25 Elijah (Elias). The incident alluded to here is in 1 Kings 17-18, but in selecting Elijah, Jesus compares himself to the prophet and compares the people to the nation of old. This is a period in Israel's history when the nation was most obstinate in rejecting God's way. Luke mentions this prophet seven times in his Gospel out of 29 NT uses (1:17; 4:26; 9:8, 19, 30, 33). [Elias]

Luke 4:26  and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.

  • save (KJV): 1Ki 17:9-24, Zarephath, Ob 1:20 
  • Sarepta (KJV): Sarepta, a city of Phoenicia, on the coast of the Mediterranean, is called Zarphand by the Arabian geographer Sherif Ibn Idris, who places it twenty miles N. of Tyre, and ten S. of Sidon; but its real distance from Tyre is about fifteen miles, the whole distance from that city to Sidon being only twenty-five miles.  Maundrell states that the place shown him for this city, called Sarphan, consisted of only a few houses, on the tops of the mountains, within about half a mile of the sea; between which there were ruins of considerable extent.


4:26 Zarephath (Sarepta). This widow of Sidon is a Gentile and had her son revived from the dead in 1 Kings 17:8-24. Jesus' point is that the land was so obstinate that only Gentiles received the benefit of ministry. This is the only mention of this figure in the NT. [Sarepta]

Luke 4:27  "And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."

  • Eliseus (KJV): 1Ki 19:19-21, Elisha
  • saving (KJV): Mt 12:4 Joh 17:12 
  • Naaman (KJV): 2Ki 5:1-27 Job 21:22 33:13 36:23 Da 4:35 


4:27 Naaman the Syrian (Naiman ho Syros). The reference to this incident from 2 Kings 5:8-19 provides a second example of outreach to Gentiles. This is the only mention of Elisha in the NT. [Naiman]

Luke 4:28  And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things;

  •  were (KJV): Lu 6:11 11:53,54 2Ch 16:10 24:20,21 Jer 37:15,16 38:6 Ac 5:33 Ac 7:54 22:21-23 1Th 2:15,16 


Rage (thumos) In this scene it was not Jesus' claims about himself that made them angry. Rather it was the suggestion that their reaction made them like one of the worst periods of Israel's history along with the implication that Gentiles might be more helped by God than the nation would be. This is the only place in Luke's Gospel where he uses this term for anger. The term's roots refer to something that boils up or wells up (TDNT 3:167). Similar Jewish reactions to the mention of Gentiles appear in Acts (Acts 22:21-22; 26:23-24). [thymos]

Luke 4:29  and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. 

  • and thrust (KJV): Joh 8:37,40,59 15:24,25 Ac 7:57,58 16:23,24 21:28-32 
  • brow (KJV): or, edge
  • that (KJV): 2Ch 25:12 Ps 37:14,32,33 

Luke 4:30  But passing through their midst, He went His way.

  •  Joh 8:59 10:39 18:6,7 Ac 12:18 

Luke 4:31  And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath;

  • came (KJV): Mt 4:13 Mk 1:21 
  • taught (KJV): Mt 10:23 Ac 13:50-52 14:1,2,6,7,19-21 17:1-3,10,11,16,17 18:4 Ac 20:1,2,23,24 

Luke 4:32  and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority.

  •  Lu 4:36 Jer 23:28,29 Mt 7:28,29 Mk 1:22  Joh 6:63 1Co 2:4,5 14:24,25 2Co 4:2 10:4,5 1Th 1:5 Tit 2:15 Heb 4:12,13 


4:32 Authority (exousia). Here is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Jesus' teaching, its authority. The other Gospels note this characteristic as well (Mark 1:22, 27; Matt. 7:29). Luke 4:36 will couple the authority of teaching with the power of exorcism. Luke uses this term 16 times. Among the major uses are Jesus' authority to do things like forgive sin (5:24) and a major confrontation in Jesus' last week over who gave Jesus such authority (20:2-8). [exousia]

Luke 4:33  In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,

  •  Mk 1:23 


4:33 Spirit of an unclean demon (pneuma daimoniou akathartou). Though Luke refers to demons 23 times in his Gospel, this is the only verse he does so with this combination of terms. Jesus' first work is seen in his confrontation with the spiritual forces of darkness, making a point about where the fundamental battle is as he seeks to deliver humanity. The spirit that controlled this person was an "unclean" demon. This probably refers to a man whose possession caused him to act in evil ways, since no personal habits are described unlike Mark 5:1-10 (BAGD, 29, 2; BDAG, 34, 2). [pneuma + daimonion + akathartos]

Luke 4:34  "Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"

  • Let us alone (KJV): or, Away, Lu 8:37 Ac 16:39 
  • what (KJV): Lu 4:41 8:28 Mt 8:29 Mk 1:24,34 5:7 Jas 2:19 
  • art (KJV): Ge 3:15 Heb 2:14 1Jn 3:8 Rev 20:2 
  • the Holy One (KJV): Lu 1:35 Ps 16:10 Da 9:24 Ac 2:27 3:14 4:27 Rev 3:7 


4:34 What have you to do with us? (ti hemin kai soi). This question is a Semitic idiom. It can mean, "why are you unjustly bothering me" (Judg. 11:12; 2 Chron. 35:21; 1 Kings 17:18) or "Leave us alone" (NET; NASB; "what do you want with us?" NW; "what have you to do with us?" RSV)? This sense indicates that hostility is present in the expression. It can also mean, "This is not your business" (2 Kings 3:13; Hosea 14:8; John 2:4). The first sense is intended here. The demons are trying to put Jesus off. [tis]

I know (oida). The demon's naming of Jesus as Holy One is an attempt to gain control of the situation. In ancient texts of exorcism, it was common to name the demon as a way of showing authority in the encounter. The move is a defensive one born from nervousness about Jesus' position and power. [oida]

Holy One of God (ho hagios tou theou). This title is a recognition by the demon of Jesus' special status as one set apart by God. A connection between this title and Jesus as the Christ appears in 4:41. In Luke, it looks back to 1:31-35 and Jesus' unique relationship to God. It suggests Jesus as a bearer of the divine Spirit (TDNT 1:101-02). [hagios]

Luke 4:35  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm.

  • Jesus (KJV): Lu 4:39,41 Ps 50:16 Zec 3:2 Mt 8:26 17:18 Mk 3:11,12 Ac 16:17,18 
  • thrown (KJV): Lu 9:39,42 11:22 Mk 1:26 9:26 Rev 12:12 


4:35 Be silent (phimotheti). This verb means to muzzle, and, thus, to silence ("Be quiet!" NASB; NIV; "Be silent!" NET; RSV; BAGD, 861). Jesus sometimes commands demons not to confess who he is (e.g., Mark 1:24-25). It appears that this kind of an endorsement could produce confusion about who Jesus was, as later the Jews suggest it is through the devil's power that Jesus works (Luke 11:14-20). Jesus also silences a raging creation with his word (Mark 4:39). [phimoo]

Luke 4:36  And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, "What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out."

  • They were (KJV): Mt 9:33 12:22,23 Mk 1:27 7:37 
  • What (KJV): Lu 4:32 10:17-20 Mk 16:17-20 Ac 19:12-16 
  • they come (KJV): 1Pe 3:22 


4:36 Amazed (thambos). This term is rare, appearing three times in the NT, all in Luke—Acts (Luke 5:9; Acts 3:10). The astonishment shows that these kinds of miracles were not seen as so common, unlike the way some portray the ancient world. What amazes is the power and authority in Jesus' word. [thambos]

Luke 4:37  And the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district.

  • the fame (KJV): [Echos <Strong's G2279>,] the sound; a very elegant metaphor, says Dr. Adam Clarke.  The people are represented as struck with astonishment, and the sound goes out through all the coasts; in allusion to the propagation of sound by a smart stroke upon any substance. Lu 4:14 Isa 52:13 Mt 4:23-25 9:26 Mk 1:28,45 6:14 

Luke 4:38  Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's home. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her.  

  • he (KJV): Mt 8:14,15 Mk 1:29-31 1Co 9:5 
  • they (KJV): Lu 7:3,4 Mt 15:23  Joh 11:3,22 Jas 5:14,15 

Luke 4:39  And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them. 

  • and rebuked (KJV): Lu 4:35 8:24 
  • and ministered (KJV): Lu 8:2,3 Ps 116:12 2Co 5:14,15 


4:39 Rebuked (epetimesen). This verb is normally reserved for encounters between people (Luke 4:41; 9:42, 55), so that disease here is almost treated like a power that needs to be stopped and over which Jesus has authority. Creation will be treated in a similar way in Luke 8:24. [epitimao]

Luke 4:40  While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them.

  • when (KJV): Mt 8:16,17 Mk 1:32-34 
  • and he (KJV): Lu 7:21-23 Mt 4:23,24 11:5 14:13 Mk 3:10 6:5,55,56 Ac 5:15 19:12 


4:40 Laid hands on them (tas cheiras epititheis). This expression occurs 21 times in the NT, ten of which are in Luke—Acts (Luke 13:13; Acts 6:6, 8:17, 19; 9:12, 17; 13:3; 19:6; 28:8). It is associated with healing (Matt. 9:18), commissioning (Acts 13:3), or with the passing on of the Spirit through the apostles (Acts 8:17, 19). In this scene, Jesus' personal contact in healing is stressed. [epitithemi + cheir]

Luke 4:41  Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.

  • crying (KJV): Lu 4:34,35 Mk 1:25,34 3:11 
  • Thou (KJV): Mt 8:29 26:63  Joh 20:31 Ac 16:17,18 Jas 2:19 
  • speak (KJV): etc. or, say that they knew him to be Christ


4:41 The Son of God (ho huios tou theou). The demons make this confession as Jesus performs exorcisms. As in 4:34-35, Jesus silences the effort. Luke will use this title only twice more in 8:22, when the storm is calmed, and in 22:70, when Jesus is asked at his trial by the High Priest if he is this figure in a context where being Messiah and Son of Man are the points of dispute. [huios]

The Christ (ton Christon). The presence of this explanation that Jesus is the anointed one and its equation with Son of God in this scene is only noted by Luke. Just as in Luke 1:31-35, the stress is on Jesus as the unique messianic Son. [Christos]

Luke 4:42  When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them.

  • when (KJV): Lu 6:12 Mk 1:35 Joh 4:34 
  • and the (KJV): Mt 14:13,14 Mk 1:37,45 6:33,34 Joh 6:24 
  • and stayed (KJV): Lu 8:37,38 24:29 Joh 4:40 

Luke 4:43  But He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose."

  •  I must (KJV): Mk 1:14,15,38,39 Joh 9:4 Ac 10:38 2Ti 4:2 
  • therefore (KJV): Isa 42:1-4 48:16 61:1-3  Joh 6:38-40 20:21 


4:43 The kingdom of God (ten basileian tou theou). This important phrase is used 64 times in the NT, with 31 uses in Luke and another seven in Acts. It refers to the promised rule of God. Jesus preaches and brings this kingdom. It is both present with Jesus, having been prepared for by John the Baptist (Luke 7:28; 11:20; 16:16; 17:21) and yet to come in fullness in the future (Luke 19:11). In fullness, it is the promised rule of God on the earth with the righteous vindicated and the wicked judged. In the present, it is the arrival of forgiveness and the presence of the Spirit, an arrival that is based on Jesus' authority to defeat the spiritual forces of evil (see the parable in 11:21-23 following the key kingdom remark in 11:20). As this verse makes clear, the kingdom is the topic of Jesus' preaching the good news. He must (dei) preach the kingdom, as he was commissioned to do so (see Luke 2:49 for dei). [basileia]

Luke 4:44  So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

  • he (KJV): Lu 4:15 Mt 4:23 Mk 1:39 
  • Galilee (KJV): Many of the Jewish traditions, in accordance with Isa 9:1, 2, assert that Galilee was the place where the Messiah should first appear.  Thus also Isa 2:19, "When he shall arise to smite terribly the earth," is expounded in the book Zohar, as referring to the Messiah:  "When he shall arise; [Vayitgaleh be-ar'ah de-galil,] and shall be revealed in the land of Galilee."

4:44 Judea (Ioudaias). Some critics have charged Luke with a geographical error in speaking of Judea while Jesus is in the North. However, Luke is using the term in its broadest sense, referring to all of Israel, so there is no error. This use was not unique to Luke (as it appears in the Iudea capta on coins of the Roman ruler, Vespasian; EDNT 2:191-92). Luke uses it this way sometimes (1:5; 6:17; 7:17; 23:5; Acts 10:37; 12:19) and more narrowly of just the South in other places (Luke 1:39, 65; 2:4; 3:1; 5:17; 21:21). [Ioudaia]