What does it say?
Immediately after God’s confirmation of Jesus upon his baptism by John, Matthew 4 tells the story of Jesus being tempted by the Devil following 40 days of fasting. The remainder of the chapter focuses on Jesus calling Peter, Andrew, James and John to be his disciples and on Jesus beginning his ministry in Galilee.
Luke 4 also tells of Jesus being tempted by the Devil. Don’t be alarmed that the order of the three temptations varies between the two gospels. We are learning that the Eastern mind often processes and communicates information differently than the Western emphasis upon linear thinking and insistence on precise chronological order. Writers often arrange the material according to their teaching objectives. Chapter four also describes the time Jesus spoke in his hometown synagogue of Nazareth and quotes from Isaiah to announce the beginning of his public ministry. From here, Luke goes on to tell also of Jesus’ relationship with Peter, Andrew, James and John and the beginning of his Galilean ministry as he teaches and heals.
What does it mean?
The three temptations the Devil offers Jesus correspond to the three ways in which the Devil approached Eve in Genesis 3 resulting in the fall of the human race. These same three temptations are summarized in 1 John 2:16 as sensual desire, covetousness and pride, and we have seen these same three basic temptations all throughout our journey through the Bible.
We remember that Matthew wants to tie all that Jesus is and all that he says and does to the fulfillment of prophecies uttered by the Hebrew prophets. Luke, not a Jew and not writing directly to Jews, is showing Jesus as the Savior of all, not just Jews. As Jesus begins his Galilean ministry, watch how Jesus stirs up Israel’s religious leaders by turning their theology upside down and showing Jesus as reaching out to the Gentiles and people on the margin of society.
How will I respond?
What can I learn from the way that Jesus responds to these three basic temptations by the Devil? Can I give an example of a way I have been tempted in these same three basic areas? How does Jesus respond to these temptations? How can I learn from his example and successfully respond when I am tempted in these same areas?