The text for this lesson is Luke 4:1-13.
- Like us, Jesus was tempted by Satan to sin. Yet for us, He overcame all temptation because we cannot.
- Law: God wants me to trust Him and not test His love and care for me.
- Gospel: In spite of my sinful ways that place me in harm, God watches over and protects me with His holy angels.
1. Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Though it is possible for us to face a temptation without sinning, to what does the experience of temptation usually lead?
2. We learn in Jesus’ Baptism in Luke 3:21–23 that He is the Son of God. This is reiterated in His genealogy, but Luke 3:38 also calls Him “the son of Adam.” As we reflect on the fact that Jesus was both true God and true Man, what are we tempted to conclude about His temptation by Satan?
3. In this lesson, we see Jesus resist Satan by relying on the Word of God alone. He used no miracles, divine power, or deep theological insights. He overcame the devil by quoting the Book of Deuteronomy three times. What might this tempt us to identify as the main point of the story?
4. According to Matthew 3:13–15, why did Jesus come to be baptized by John? What does Jesus’ obedience under temptation do for us? What does Jesus’ obedience even to death on the cross do for us?
5. We noted above some of the Old Testament themes that appear in the account of Jesus’ temptation. In Genesis 2:16–17, God gave Adam permission to eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. According to Genesis 3:1–3, what did Satan tempt Eve to do? In what way did she fail to respond properly? According to Exodus 17:1–7, how did the children of Israel tempt or test God in the wilderness? What is the significance of the location Massah and Meribah?
6. With regard to the first temptation, we know Jesus had received confirmation of His Sonship at His Baptism. According to Luke 4:3, how does Satan challenge that Sonship? Jesus’ response in Luke 4:4 is a quotation from Deuteronomy 8:1–3. Why could Jesus confidently rely on His Father to provide for Him?
7. With regard to the second temptation, Isaiah 52–53 tells us that Jesus will be the servant of the Lord who will suffer for the people but then be exalted. In Luke 4:5–7, what does Satan tempt Jesus to do? According to Luke 22:39–44, what struggle did Jesus continue to face? Jesus responds to Satan by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13. According to Deuteronomy 6:10–15, what provides the basis for serving the Lord God only?
8. Finally, we see the third temptation. “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose,” wrote Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice (Act 1, scene 3). In Luke 4:9–11, Satan rips Scripture verses out of context and makes himself sound very pious. After forty days of suffering in the wilderness, Jesus could have been aching for an external sign that His Father had not abandoned Him. Yet Jesus knew the background of Deuteronomy 6:16. In this verse, what is the significance of Massah for Jesus’ temptation? (Refer back to question 5.) According to Luke 4:13, what did Satan do after being defeated this time?
9. In Satan’s first temptation of Jesus, he tempts Him to despair of God’s mercy. What is despair, why is it dangerous, and how can it be overcome?
10. In the second temptation, Satan tempts Jesus toward an apparent good. Jesus came into the world to be a ruler, so why not just start now by worshiping the devil? What are some seemingly good things that tempt us? How does Jesus tell good from evil?
11. In the third temptation, Satan tempts Jesus by misusing God’s Word. He quotes out of context. This happens a great deal today. Consider the following paraphrases of Scripture, and provide examples of contemporary misuses of them: “Forgive others”; “Do not judge”; “God is love.” How does Jesus resist this temptation?
12. How does what happens to Jesus after His Baptism relate to our Christian life? According to 1 Peter 5:8–9, what expectation should a new Christian have after Baptism? Whom is Satan most interested in tempting? What is Satan’s ultimate goal? What is our best defense against Satan?