First Sunday in Lent (March 10th)

Pastor's Summary of Luke 4:1-13

Luke has told us of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan, of "a voice...from heaven" (3:22) saying "You are my Son...". On that occasion "the Holy spirit descended upon him in bodily form", but is this what we today, living in an age with supposedly only one reality, would consider bodily? Ancient people conceived of several levels of Spirit worlds with occasional contact between them and earth.

Perhaps Jesus transcends between earth and a spirit world in the story of his testing by the devil.(INote the imaginative images in vv. 5 and 9.) During his time there (forty days, v. 2, meaning a significant period of time), the Holy Spirit sustains him in his travails; human as he is, Jesus is totally dependent on the Spirit being with him, for "he ate nothing". (Moses ate nothing during the time he was on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments.) In this dependance, Jesus is humanly helpless; he humbles himself before the Father.j

The devil speaks, but is this like " a voice from heaven" speaking? The devil recognizes him as "Son of God" (vv. 3, 9), the one who fulfils God's plan in creation and, given Luke's genealogy in 3:23-28, in Israel's history. Jesus answers the devil's questions with quotations from the Law, i.e. Deuteronomy, then considered to be the words of Moses.

In v. 4 Jesus, hungry as he is, says: God sustains humans through other means than eating. Whether the devil has the authority to offer Jesus world-wide political power is unlikely (vv. 5-7); however Jesus' answer is plain: God is the ultimate master; only he is to be worshipped (v. 8). In vv. 9-11, the devil invites Jesus to do something extraordinary-a thing not in accordance with God's plan of salvation. Again Jesus refuses to be taken in (v. 12). Jesus opposed the forces of evil throughout his ministry, but the greatest chance  (" an opportune time", v. 13) the devil had was on the cross. There he again faces identified temptations.