Our chapter 4 in Luke today begins by describing the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness – “for forty days”. He is alone, we do not read of the calling of his disciples – until tomorrow’s chapter. So how did Luke know of this event? None of the disciples could have told him – well not as eye witnesses! Matthew also records them in his Gospel in ch. 4, but it is not until his 9th chapter that Matthew (Levi) himself is called to follow Jesus.
It is evident that they only knew of his temptations because Jesus himself told them – and he told them in parables. At least some of the temptations cannot be literal, such as in v.9 today, when the devil “set him on the pinnacle of the temple.” Also when he was shown “all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time” [v.5]
The lesson to the disciples – and to us – is clear! Jesus’ intimate knowledge of God’s word, “it is written” – and of the ‘power’ of its inspired message – was in his heart – and came readily to mind and ‘inspired’ his words and actions in turning away from all forms of temptation. The writer of Hebrews states we “have a high priest … who in every respect has been tempted as we are …” [4 v.15]
Have we put God’s words in our hearts – with many years of meditative reading? If not, let us start today! The knowledge of God’s purposes, especially of his soon coming kingdom are, said Jesus, “ like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found … and sells all that he has and buys that field.” [Matt. 13 v.44] Treasure – when possessed – has to be used! When our Lord comes – and how soon now – he is going to ask you and I how we have used it.
We also noted v.17-19 of our chapter in Luke; it is the occasion when Jesus “went into the synagogue” and read from the prophet Isaiah who had been inspired to forth tell the work Jesus was to do including proclaiming “good news to the poor … to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” We find this passage in Isaiah 61 v.1,2 – But what do the next words in Isaiah say, words which Jesus did not read because it was not yet time for them to be fulfilled. They are “the day of vengeance of our God.” How long now, before that day comes and what “is written” is happening before our eyes! In Luke 12 v. 40 we will read, “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”