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Go to Bible: Luke 4
“And Jesus.” The record of Jesus’ being tempted in the desert is in Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; and Luke 4:1-13.
“full of holy spirit.” The Greek text has no article “the.” This holy spirit was the gift of God that He gave to some believers before Pentecost. [For more information on the holy spirit and uses of “holy spirit,” see Appendix 11, “What is the Holy Spirit,” and also see Appendix 6, “Usages of ‘Spirit’”].
“in the desert.” Matthew 4:1 and Mark 1:12 clearly tell us that the spirit led, or drove, Jesus into the desert: Greek, eis (#1519 εἰς). Luke, however, emphasizes that Jesus was being led (imperfect tense) by the spirit while in the desert, using the Greek word en (#1722 ἐν) rather than eis. Some later texts changed the reading to eis to harmonize with the other gospels, and this explains the KJV’s translation “into the wilderness.”(top)
“Devil.” The Greek word is diabolos (#1228 διάβολος), which literally means “Slanderer,” but diabolos gets transliterated into English as our more familiar name, “Devil.” Slander is so central to who the Devil is and how he operates that one of his primary names is “the Slanderer.” [For more information on the names of the Devil, see Appendix 14: “Names of the Devil”].(top)
“the Devil.” See commentary on Luke 4:2. Also, see Appendix 14, “Names of the Devil.”(top)
|Luk 4:4||- (top)|
“showed him all the kingdoms.” Matthew and Luke both record the 3 temptations that the Adversary tempted Jesus with, but worded slightly differently and in a different order. Commentators differ as to whether Matthew or Luke has the order of events as they actually happened. We believe Luke has the order correct because Luke says he recorded things “in order” (Luke 1:3). Furthermore, another reason we believe Luke has the correct order is that to the Devil, the most desirable outcome would be to have Jesus worship him, but if he could not accomplish that, to kill Jesus and be done with him. The order of temptations in Luke accomplishes that goal. The second temptation would result in Jesus worshiping the Devil, and if that failed the third temptation would have resulted in Jesus’ death.
“inhabited world.” There are different words translated “world” or “earth,” and the differences in the meanings are important. Unfortunately, most versions translated both oikoumene and kosmos as “world,” leaving the English reader with no way to see the differences. The Greek word in Luke 4:5 is oikoumene (#3625 οἰκουμένη), and it means 1. The earth as inhabited area, exclusive of the heavens above and nether regions, the inhabited earth, the world. 2. The world as administrative unit, the Roman Empire (in the hyperbolic diction commonly used in reference to emperors, the Roman Empire equaled the whole world). 3. All the inhabitants of the earth, then, figuratively humankind (cp. Acts 17:31; Luke 2:1, 4). When it means the whole world so far as living beings inhabiting it, it seems to include the realm of transcendent beings as well. The inhabited world is different from kosmos, the world as a creation.
The Greek world kosmos (#2889 κόσμος) has several different definitions (from BDAG). The basic idea is one of order or orderliness. 1. That which serves to beautify through decoration, adornment, adorning (1 Peter 3:3). 2. Condition of orderliness, orderly arrangement, order. 3. The sum total of everything here and now, the world, the (orderly) universe (John 17:5). 4. The sum total of all beings above the level of the animals, the world (1 Cor. 4:9). 5. The planet earth as a place of inhabitation, the world, the world in contrast to heaven. 6. By metonymy: humanity in general, the world. 7. The world, and everything that belongs to it, appears as that which is hostile to God. 8. Collective aspect of an entity, totality, sum total the tongue becomes (or proves to be) the sum total of iniquity (James 3:6).
In Matthew 4:8 the Slanderer showed Jesus the kingdoms of the kosmos, in Luke, the Slanderer shows Jesus the kingdoms of the oikoumene. Putting the two together shows that the Devil was offering Jesus everything in his dominion, the physical earth and the inhabitants of it.(top)
“the Devil.” See commentary on Luke 4:2, and see Appendix 14, “Names of the Devil.”
“glory.” The word also has the meaning of “praise,” “honor” (Cp. Acts 12:23; 2 Cor. 6:8; 8:19, 23). The world praised the Adversary. We Christians praise God. If Jesus was looking for the praise of men, he could have had it then and there.
“it has been handed over to me.” Although it is commonly taught that “God is in [absolute] control,” that is not what the Bible says, nor is it what we see in the world around us. While it is true that God will have the ultimate victory, by His own decision and because He is love, He is not in complete control of the world we live in. What we see around us is that there is a universal war between Good and Evil, with many good things happening and many evil things happening. Indeed, there is so much evil in the world that the truth of 1 John 5:19 (ESV) is quite evident: “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
God gave Adam and Eve dominion over the earth, but they transferred it to the Devil, who now has dominion over the earth. In Genesis 1:26, God discussed making mankind and giving them dominion over the earth with his divine council (see commentary on Gen. 1:26). Then, in Genesis 1:28, God actually gave dominion over the earth to mankind. This showed God’s great love and grace for mankind. The nature of love is to be in a mutually respectful relationship in which mature parties each do the work they are supposed to do without being “micromanaged.” God so loved mankind that He gave them dominion over the earth, and evidence of that dominion is that God brought the animals He made to Adam so that he could give them names (Gen. 2:19).
The whole situation changed, however, when Adam and Eve sinned against God by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:6). When they followed the prompting of God’s arch-enemy the Devil and ate of the tree, they took on the crafty nature of the Devil, and also transferred dominion of the earth over to him. That is why the Devil told Jesus that the earth had been handed over to him and he could give it to anyone he wanted to (Matt. 4:9; Luke 4:6).
God had made the earth “very good” (Gen. 1:31), but once the Devil gained control over it, it became a very harsh and dangerous place. The ground was cursed and it took hard work to get food, the plants developed thorns (Gen. 3:17-19), and many animals became dangerous. Also, the earth became plagued with disease, death, famines, earthquakes, floods, and more. In short, after Adam and Eve sinned, the Devil gained a lot of control and the earth took on the nature of the Devil, an evil nature that it still has today. When the Devil gained control of the world, he became “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4), and the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31). The Devil and his demons roam the earth (Job 1:7, 2:2; 1 Pet. 5:8), and oppress people (Acts 10:38). Indeed, the Devil and his henchmen (both demons and demonic people) come to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), and the Devil holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14). Believers do not fight against God, instead, we are to take up the armor God provides us and wrestle against the devil and spiritual evil (Eph. 6:10-13).
Even more evidence that the Devil is in control of the world and the cause of many of its ills is the fact that after the Battle of Armageddon the Devil will be imprisoned (Rev. 20:2), and the earth will return to being a “paradise.” Jesus will rule from Jerusalem and the world will be a safe place with an abundance of food and water. The scope of Scripture should make the battle between Good and Evil very clear: when God is in charge the earth is a paradise (thus the Garden of Eden and the paradise to come); when the Devil is in charge (as he is today) the world is dangerous and evil.
It is commonly believed that the Devil can only do what God allows him to, but that is not true. The Devil is not an agent of God, nor is he doing God’s will; he is at war with God. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, and God does not allow the Devil to do evil and then send Jesus Christ to destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8). If the Devil could only do what God allowed him to, then we humans would be more powerful than the Devil, because we sin and go against the will of God on a daily basis and do not check with God first to see if we can sin. We don’t need God’s permission to lie, cheat, steal, rape or murder, and neither does the Devil. We are not more free to sin than the Devil is; the Devil “has been sinning from the beginning” (1 John 3:8), indeed, he was the first sinner. It is God’s angel army and the righteousness and prayers of believers that limit the Devil, not God’s permission. In fact, if God could stop the evil on earth by just saying “No” to the Devil, then God is as responsible for the evil on earth in the same way that a mob boss is responsible when he orders a murder but does not actually commit the crime himself. The only way God could be “good” given the evil on earth is if the Devil has free will and does what he does because he has the authority and power to do it, and he is sinning, going against the will of God, when he is doing his evil acts.
Notice that here in Luke 4, Jesus Christ never challenged or denied the Devil’s claim that he had authority over the whole world. Jesus knew the Devil’s offer to rule the world as Satan’s second in command was a legitimate one, but he wanted no part of it. It is amazing in light of clear verses like this, and all the verses that say the Devil is in charge of the world, and all the evil in the world that is so contrary to the nature of God, that Christians insist that God is in control of what happens on earth. God is not in control now, as each person can see for himself just by willfully sinning. Today the earth is a war zone between good and evil, between God and the Devil, and between the followers of Christ and the followers of Darkness. The great victory of Good over Evil will come in the future, and at that time this “present evil age” (Gal. 1:4) will come to an end.
Also, the New Testament makes it clear that the Devil is the ruler of the world, which is why the world has the nature of the Devil and not the nature of God. It is because the Devil is the ruler of the world that “the world” hates followers of Christ, and neither Christ himself nor his followers are “of the world” (John 15:18-19; John 17:14, 16). Far from being in control in the world, “the world” and the Father are opposed to one another (1 John 2:16), and the world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19).
[For more on the Devil being the god of this age, see commentary on 2 Cor. 4:4. For more on the names of the Devil that describe his characteristics, see Appendix 14, “Names of the Devil.” For more on the warfare between God and His enemies, see commentary on 1 Sam. 1:3. For more on Adam and Eve getting the crafty nature of the Devil, see commentary on Romans 7:17. For more on the future Kingdom of Christ on earth that will not have the Devil present, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth.” For more on the future restored earth being called “Paradise,” see commentary on Luke 23:43].
|Luk 4:7||- (top)|
For more on this quote from Deut. 6:13, see commentary on Matthew 4:10.(top)
|Luk 4:9||- (top)|
|Luk 4:10||- (top)|
|Luk 4:11||- (top)|
|Luk 4:12||- (top)|
“the Devil.” See commentary on Luke 4:2, also see Appendix 14, “Names of the Devil.”(top)
|Luk 4:14||- (top)|
|Luk 4:15||- (top)|
|Luk 4:16||- (top)|
“unrolled the scroll.” The Greek reads, “opened,” but in the context the way to open the scroll was to unroll it. That fact that Jesus could unroll the scroll of Isaiah and find the verse that he was looking for is a testament to how well Jesus knew the Word of God. At the time of Jesus, in all three biblical languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the Bible was written in all capital letters as one long letter-string with no breaks between the words and no punctuation. The scroll was written in columns, and often the letters that ended the bottom of a column were part of a word that continued at the top and start of the next column. Also, the scroll of Isaiah in the Dead Sea Scrolls is about 24 feet, so Jesus had to know about where in the scroll the lines he was searching for were written.(top)
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me.” God put His gift of holy spirit, the gift of His nature, upon Jesus Christ to empower him spiritually. Jesus received holy spirit immediately after he was baptized by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:9-10; Luke 3:21-22). The prophet Elijah had holy spirit upon him, and Elisha had a double portion of the spirit that was upon Elijah (2 Kings 2:9), but God sent the gift of holy spirit upon Jesus Christ “without measure” (John 3:34).
All through the Old Testament and Gospels, God put the gift of His nature, which is called “holy spirit,” upon people to give them spiritual power (cp. Num. 11:17-29; Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 1 Sam. 10:6, 10; 16:13; 1 Chron. 12:18; 2 Chron. 15:1; Micah 3:8; Luke 1:41-42, 67; 2:25-27). Jesus needed God’s gift of holy spirit to have spiritual power just like the leaders and prophets of the Old Testament did, and the Old Testament foretold that God was going to put holy spirit upon the Messiah (Isa. 11:2, 42:1, 61:1). After his resurrection, Jesus said that when people believed and received the holy spirit, they would have spiritual power (Acts 1:8), and Peter called the holy spirit that came on the Day of Pentecost, “the gift of holy spirit” (Acts 2:38).(top)
|Luk 4:19||- (top)|
|Luk 4:20||- (top)|
|Luk 4:21||- (top)|
|Luk 4:22||- (top)|
“Capernaum.” Jesus made his home in Galilee in Capernaum. [For more information on Capernaum, see commentary on Mark 2:1].(top)
|Luk 4:24||- (top)|
|Luk 4:25||- (top)|
|Luk 4:26||- (top)|
|Luk 4:27||- (top)|
|Luk 4:28||- (top)|
|Luk 4:29||- (top)|
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|Luk 4:31||- (top)|
|Luk 4:32||- (top)|
“in the synagogue.” The record of Jesus casting a demon out of a man in the synagogue at Capernaum is in Mark 1:23-28 and Luke 4:33-37.
“spirit (that is to say an unclean demon).” This construction in Greek is the genitive of apposition (Cp. Lenski). The literal Greek, “a spirit of an unclean demon,” means, “a spirit, that is to say an unclean demon,” or “a spirit, namely, an unclean demon,” or even, “a spirit—an unclean demon.” To us today it seems strange to say, “A spirit—an unclean demon,” because to us all demons are “unclean” and evil, but we must remember that in the theology and thinking of the Greco-Roman world, not all “demons” were evil. Like people, some were good and some were bad, and also like people they were capable of doing good in one circumstance but then evil in another. [For more information on the use of demons in the Greco-Roman world, see commentary on Acts 17:18].(top)
“Ha!” An exclamation that combines many elements, and is therefore hard to translate. It can include the emotions of surprise, indignation, fear, and dismay.
“What do you want with us.” See commentary on Matthew 8:29.(top)
“And Jesus subdued him, saying, “Be bound!” and “Come out of him!” The first half of verse 35 is worded exactly like Mark 1:25. The sentence uses vocabulary that has a technical sense. For example, in this case “subdue” is the Greek word epitimaō (#2008 ἐπιτιμάω) and it is used in this verse as it was used in Greek religion of gaining control over a spirit, a demon. See commentary on Mark 1:25.
“Be bound.” The Greek word was used in magic to denote binding a person with a spell. Jesus “bound” the demon with his word. See commentary on Mark 1:25.(top)
|Luk 4:36||- (top)|
|Luk 4:37||- (top)|
“Simon’s mother-in-law.” This record is in Matthew 8:14-15; Mark 1:29-31, and Luke 4:38-39.(top)
“subdued.” The Greek word translated “subdued” is epitimaō (#2008 ἐπιτιμάω), and this is the technical sense of the word as it was used in Greek religion for taking control over a spirit. Robert Guelich (Word Biblical Commentary: Mark) notes that epitimaō is “a commanding word uttered by God or by his spokesman, by which evil powers are brought into submission.” Jesus subdued the fever by the power of God, which was expressed in words. See commentary on Mark 1:25.(top)
|Luk 4:40||- (top)|
“subduing.” See commentaries on Luke 4:35, 39 and Mark 1:25.(top)
|Luk 4:42||- (top)|
|Luk 4:43||- (top)|
|Luk 4:44||- (top)|