Luke 4:13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. What does this mean? Part III
Conclusion: When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. What does this mean?
An exegesis of the scripture is readily done, now that the wiles of Satan have been somewhat quantified. For we know that he is quite crafty and personifies trickery and deception. In these verses Jesus had just been baptized by John the Baptist at the end of the previous chapter and then he was (seemingly) immediately led out into the wilderness for the express purpose of being tempted by the greatest tempter of all, Satan. After Jesus had fasted for forty days the devil began his temptations.
Satan was attacking Jesus the only way he could from the standpoint of how he would attack a man. This was because Christ, was very man and very God, and was placed in a human body to be made the sacrifice in order to redeem humankind from sin and death. It is said by preachers of the Gospel and the Bible affirms the same that Satan knows and quotes scripture, though not for its intended purpose (which is to reveal God’s Plan of Redemption and to offer Christ to humankind).
Satan is aware of Jesus’ purpose and it was planned that Christ would be the Savior of humanity before the foundation of the world. Jesus’ birth, his life, every provision thereof and every footstep of his journey was foreordained and planned by the Godhead. Even the temptation from the devil, even before the Angels fell and even while Satan was obedient to Christ and while he was performing the purpose for which he was created. This was the time, it is said in Job 38: 7” … when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy”?
The point to note here is that the angelic host, just as humankind, was made for a purpose and the angelic host will fulfill that purpose. This brings us right up to the point of a discussion of predestination, which I will not delve into in this question, though it is natural to all scripture in that one has to know their own bias for the doctrine and what they believe of it. However, it will no doubt, pervade one’s thinking either way.
For this examination, if one were to assume that all the angels (may have been like us) and had a choice to make at some point in their existence. Having stated that, the point in this statement is that, even the choice was part of the plan of creation, and not just by the foreknowledge of God. That is to say, that as in the prologue discussion, of the Eternal Plan of God in sending Christ His Son to this world to seek and save the lost, that plan was built into even the choices all created beings had.
Concurrently, any choice they made would yet resound to the Great Glory of God and fulfill his will. The angelic host is evidence of the same. Any choices made by Angels did not defeat God’s plan to have Angels that would worship him. And some that would worship him and act as ministering spirits to His Son Jesus; and still others (or the same) as messengers offering aid to humankind. So even the temptation of Christ was permitted and allowed by God. Christ did not succumb to Satan’s wiles and at the end of the temptation Jesus was ministered to by Angels, as ordained by God. In the three temptations, the devil, whom Jesus would later refer to as “the prince of this world”, choose not to offer anything other than ideas or philosophies, in the three areas he tempted Jesus in.
In the first temptation, Jesus was hungry; however Satan did not offer him real bread (that would have satisfied his hunger). Satan offered rocks and suggested that Jesus could use his miraculous power to turn them into bread. In Matthew 7:9 Jesus asked his disciples “…what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” Jesus’ point to his disciples was that if men can give their children the appropriate things to eat, then God could surely do so even more abundantly and would when they are in need.
The response Jesus gave to Satan’s offering the rocks was similar, but with different words, in Luke 4: 4, “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God”. Even though Jesus could ask God to perform that miracle and God surely would, the foreordained Word of God and his providential care again still applied, Jesus was in the care of God not in the care of himself. Jesus trusted in and had faith in God to save him and to provide for him. He had just spent 40 days in a wilderness, over two thousand years ago, with deadly wild animals, murderers, robbers, and with other conditions that would be worse than hunger. So he knew God had sustained his life. John the Baptist, Moses, and other Prophets spent time alone in the wilderness, to show their faith in God to protect them for all forces.
Satan is a real entity, but here he is using an ideology to tempt Christ. The idea he is employing in this temptation is, “Why would God forsake you”? This is similar to the statements made by onlookers at the cross, who mocked Jesus saying “You saved others, save yourself”, and “If you come down from the cross, we will believe you”. Jesus while in great human anguish and agony on the cross, (as God poured out the full measure of his fierce wrath on Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb) shouted similar words, “My God, My God why have thou forsaken me?” (Psalms 21:1). It was a miserable death to die, the Lord of Glory, hanging on the cross in the body of a man. As a man there is no question that he would cry out such a thing. Isaiah 53 describing Christ’s passion centuries before it occurred, provided, “3He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (ESV)
So we see that Jesus did not utter the statement in unbelief, rather so that God’s Word would always prevail, for it was also a prophetic utterance of David in the Holy Psalm, written to again show that the connected Eternal Plan of God for human salvation (offering his innocent son in a human body, despised and put to shamed, by those he had come to save from sin, death and hell), and how it is connected in the scriptures down from the past, through to the present age and on into the future. Christ’s sacrifice, oblation, his suffering and his death was a complete cure for the human condition of sinfulness (if believed and received by humankind). This shameful death to die, tortured, beaten to the point of disfigurement, naked and ashamed hanging before as it were the entire world, but it surely healed our wretched condition of sin.
And this was much to the vexation of fallen angels and demons in hell, but resounded in great joy, with shouts of praise and adoration from the heavenly host, the Angels in Heaven. Jesus showed us how to defeat Satan through faith and obedience to the Word of God, which reveals his Eternal Plan. In his greatest of temptations, Hebrews 12:2, guides us to the example Jesus set, always be, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In the second temptation, the devil offered, as provided in Luke 4: “5And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
Again, a change in ideology is being offered, to again change who one places h
This time, Satan offers something he is only temporarily in charge of, a system were nations rise and fall, where kingdoms and kings all pass away in frustration and futility, and leaders and subjects die impenitent deaths in ignorance not of God, but in ignorance of the deception perpetrated on them by Satan the faithless and father of all lies. Note that in neither of these temptations, did Jesus do anything but quote scripture, in order to resist the devil. He did not rail against Satan, he simply resisted. He knew that the final battle was yet to come, where Satan and his demons would be put to shame and defeated along with any unfaithful people on the earth.
End of Part III
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