As Jesus begins His ministry, He is full of the Holy Spirit. That is a huge thing because He is not out on a mission of His own doing. Jesus, as the Son of God, is doing a God thing?
Here are some questions I should consider:
- Am I full of the Holy Spirit?
- Am I doing a God thing?
- Am I being led by the Holy Spirit?
4 Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 But Jesus answered him, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone.” | Luke 4:1-3 (CSB)
Even the enemy Satan must admit that Jesus is the Son of God. “If you are the Son of God” is not a supposition but an affirmation. It means “in view of the fact that You are the Son of God”. In fact, the fact of His deity was the basis for the first of the three temptations. “Since You are the Son of God,” Satan argued, “why be hungry? You can change stones into bread!” Satan wanted Jesus to disobey the Father’s will by using His divine power for His own purposes. Satan does the same with us. This is an old ploy. God gives us the power to resist.
Why was Jesus tempted? It was proof that the Father’s approval was deserved. Jesus is indeed the “beloved Son” who always does whatever pleases His Father. In His temptation, Jesus exposed the tactics of the enemy and revealed to us how we can overcome when we are tempted. This experience helped prepare our Master for His present ministry as our sympathetic High Priest, and we may come to Him for the help we need to overcome the tempter.
Now here is some good news! The first Adam was tempted in a beautiful Garden and failed. The Last Adam was tempted in a dangerous wilderness and succeeded.
We have at our disposal the same spiritual resources that Jesus used when He faced and defeated Satan: prayer, the Father’s love, the power of the Spirit, and the Word of God (“It is written”). Plus, we have in heaven the interceding Savior who has defeated the enemy completely. 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.
Satan suggested that there must be something wrong with the Father’s love since His “beloved Son” was hungry. In years past Israel hungered in the wilderness, and God sent them bread from heaven; so surely Jesus could use His divine power to feed Himself and save His life. Satan subtly used this same approach on Eve: “God is holding out on you! Why can’t you eat of every tree in the Garden? If He really loved you, He would share everything with you!”
But the test was even more subtle than that, for Satan was asking Jesus to separate the physical from the spiritual. In our life as disciples, eating is a spiritual activity, and we can use even our daily food to glorify God. Whenever we label different spheres of our lives “physical,” “material,” “financial,” or “spiritual,” we are bound to leave God out of areas where He rightfully belongs. Jesus must be first in everything, or He is first in nothing. It is better to be hungry in the will of God than satisfied out of the will of God.
When our Master quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, He put the emphasis on the word man. As the eternal Son of God, He had power to do anything; but as the humble Son of man, He had authority to do only that which the Father willed. As the Servant, Jesus did not use His divine attributes for selfish purposes. Because He was man, He hungered; but He trusted the Father to meet His needs in His own time and His own way.
You and I need bread for the body, but we must not live by physical bread alone. We also need food for the inner person to satisfy our spiritual needs. This food is the Word of God. What digestion is to the body, meditation is to the soul. As we read the Word and meditate on it, we receive spiritual health and strength for the inner person, and this enables us to obey the will of God.
Here is the literal translation:
4:1–2a: And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, turned away from the Jordan [River, in which he’d been baptized,] and was being led in the Spirit in the wilderness 2a for forty days as he was being tempted by the Devil. 4:2b–4: And he [Jesus] ate nothing during those days; and when they were completed, he hungered. 3 And the Devil said to him, “If [in fact] you’re God’s Son, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It’s written, ‘Not by bread alone shall a human being live [Deuteronomy 8:3].’ ”
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Lk 4:1–44). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 182). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 237). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.