When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time
Luke 4:1-21 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
5 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 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. 7 Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”
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; 10 for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,’ 11 and, ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.
14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.
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. 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,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, 19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
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. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
In today’s text it says: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. Many people seem to think that this was the only time that Jesus was ever tempted. They believe that Jesus resisted the devil and his temptations and having passed the test, having withstood the devil’s best shot, He was never tempted again. The text leads us to believe that is not how it was. It says: When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. Like us, Jesus was tempted throughout His life. He had the mind and the body of a man like we do. He had emotions and experienced physical sensations like we do. Hebrews 4:15 says: We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Throughout His ministry Jesus was challenged to perform miracles to prove who He was. Surely there were times that He was tempted to silence the skeptics and the critics, perhaps calling down fire from heaven or having the earth swallow them up as those who had challenged Moses. On the night that Jesus was betrayed and arrested, in Matthew 26:36-39 it says: Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Do you think that Jesus, being deeply grieved, was not tempted to do something to avoid what He knew was coming. In Luke 22:44 it says: And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. Do you think that Jesus was not tempted with fear and anxiety over what He knew was coming? Later, when He was arrested, it says in Matthew 26:50-54: Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” Do you think that perhaps Jesus was tempted to do just that, to call on legions of angels to triumphantly deliver Him from harm?
These are just a few of the extraordinary times that Jesus may have been tempted, just a sampling of the opportune times the devil waited for. Again, as it says in Hebrews 4:15: We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Still some will say Jesus was never married, He didn’t know the temptation associated with being married. Jesus didn’t have the pressure and stress of a job and bills. He didn’t know all the temptations that come with those things. Here’s the thing, from the beginning of the text it said Jesus was: being tempted by the devil. James 1:13-16 says: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. There are two important elements of what it says there. First we are not tempted by God, instead, like Jesus we are tempted by the devil. Only God is creative. The devil cannot create. He can only attempt to duplicate what God has created. He is a deceiver, but because he cannot create anything new, his deception remains the same. From Adam and Eve in the garden to everyone who has ever lived, even up till now, the devil uses the same lies and deception to tempt us. Jesus was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. The second part of what James says is that we are carried away and enticed by our own lust. So the reality of our temptation is that it is specifically tailored to us. The devil will not waste his time tempting us with something that we have no desire for. Instead he will continue until he finds what entices us. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. It is not a sin to feel or be tempted, even to be tempted with the most vile things; even to be tempted by the same thing for our entire life. Instead, sin happens when we allow lust to be conceived, when we entertain our thoughts and desires. Once sin is conceived through our lust it grows quickly using guilt, condemnation, hopelessness and despair. It brings death to our relationship with God.
Take courage though. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; (the lies and deceit of the devil have not changed) 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. Jesus Himself showed us the way of escape. In today’s text He answered every lie and deception of the devil with the truth of what God says. In James 4:7-8 it says: Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says: who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. We should not be double minded, entertaining the lusts and desires of this world, and the things of God. Instead we should be Christ minded. We should draw near to God submitting to Him in thought and deed. There is a way out of every temptation. Jesus is the way.
James says: Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. We too should not be deceived. As we submit to God and resist the devil he will flee. But as he did with Jesus, he will do with us. He will wait for an opportune time. Then he will again tempt us with our own lusts and desires. 1 Peter 5:8 says: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The devil cannot cause us to sin unless we ourselves give him permission, failing to be vigilant and allowing ourselves to be carried away by our own lust.
What was Jesus key to overcoming the temptation of the devil? The text tells us from the very beginning: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness. Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. He was led by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9-11 says: You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. We have the mind of Christ and we also have the same Spirit that He was full of and led by, filling and leading us.
May Christ’s declaration be ours also through the filling, the leading and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Amen.