Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 4 Study Notes
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2 Lincolnton, NC July 2, 2006
2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
1901 ASV Translation:
2 during forty days, being tempted of the devil. And he did eat nothing in those days: and when they were completed, he hungered.
3 And the devil said unto him, if thou art the Son of God, command this stone that it become bread.
4 And Jesus answered unto him, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.
I. The Temptation to Turn Stones to Bread.
A. The text tells us that Jesus was "being tempted" (perhaps implying an on-going process during the forty days), but the "temptation" to convert stones to bread would, obviously, have its greatest appeal at the end of the 40 days (though at any time up to that end, Jesus would have been hungry).
B. This temptation was not about "feeling hunger pains"; it was about sustaining "life". The ability to go without food for 40 days varies with different individuals because of the amount of "excess" reserves that are being carried about. Once a person reaches the "end" of the reserves, death ensues.
C. The "tempter" is called "the devil". The "name" is a descriptive title that focuses upon the essential characteristic of "deceptive slander" (Revelation 12:9 and 20:10).
D. The objective of the temptation was, at root, to generate antagonism between Jesus and His Father. It was to be achieved by attempting to generate antagonism between the "aspects" of Jesus' human makeup -- setting the body against the soul (1 Peter 2:11), or the soul against the spirit, or any number of combinations of body/soul/spirit issues -- so that that antagonism could be used as a lever to drive a wedge of antagonism between the Son and the Father.
E. The details of the temptation consisted of ...
1. The deliberate, "If 'Son' you are of the God...".
a. The deliberate claim of Luke 1:35 was that Jesus would be called "the Son of God".
b. "The God" is, fundamentally, the Executor of Power (Genesis 1; Romans 1:20).
c. To be "Son" is, fundamentally, to execute power as the mirror-image (Hebrews 1:3).
d. The issue: does the "Son" have the authority to exercise power in view of two questions?
1) Is the "Son's" authority to exercise power subject to the "Father's"? [John 8:28]
2) Can the "Son" exercise power to "preserve" Himself? [Matthew 26:53]
2. The directive: "Say to this stone that it become bread."
a. Almost all of the advice of everyone who is currently giving advice about "fasting" has this in common: "Do not break your fast with solid food." Clearly, this is not valid advice. The devil did not tempt Jesus to turn the stone into "soup".
b. The issue is not "bread"; it is the legitimacy of turning a stone into nourishment.
1) Jesus, on a later occasion, asked this question, "And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent? (Luke 11:11; ASV).
a) He was saying that no legitimate "father" would respond to the request for food with a stone...indicating that He knew that turning stones into bread could not possibly be the Ultimate Father's will.
b) On the other hand, what legitimate "father" would respond to a request for food with a "No"? This is not a question that can be answered in an absolute way -- for it is possible for a legitimate "father" to deny a child food for good reasons.
2) At this level, Jesus was deliberately answering the question of whether the "Son" had a legitimate authority to act on His own and the question of whether the "Son" could independently act to preserve Himself. There is this fact in the third of Luke's "temptations" -- that the Father had promised the Son that the angels would "protect" Him...indicating that the Son was not to protect Himself.
F. Jesus' Response.
1. Luke's record of Jesus' response cuts off a part of the quote of Deuteronomy 8:3 (which Matthew includes in Matthew 4:4) [the quote is precisely the wording of the Septuagint].
a. The automatic question for us (not Luke's readers who may not have had Matthew's record in their possession) is why Luke only focused upon the negative.
b. The statement that "NOT upon bread only shall live the man" is a statement of absolute fact: the text tells us that "humility/affliction" is required so that God might "make thee know" where life comes from.
c. Clearly Luke has included the major issue: Life does not come only from the physical realm.
2. This response by Jesus was heavily prejudiced by His knowledge of the Word of God (He said, "It stands written...").