The Temptations Of Jesus Christ
THE TEMPTATIONS OF JESUS
Luke is not writing to a Jewish audience who would see themselves as heirs to the Old Testament. He uses the same testings and the same responses by Jesus, but his main interest is not in Old Testament fulfillment. Luke’s picture is more that of the Kingdom of God invading the kingdom of Satan. Satan is spoken of as the ruler of this world in John 12:31.
Right after reading from the book delivered to him in the synagogue Jesus announces the theme of his mission in Luke 4:18, 19. This theme is taken from Isaiah 61:1, 2.
We understand about the ‘preaching of good news’ and proclaiming ‘the year of the Lord’s favor’, and about ‘recovery of sight for the blind’, but who are the ‘prisoners that are freed’ or the ‘oppressed that are released’?
The fact that the Nazareth incident, the reading of Isaiah 61 in the synagogue, is followed by the driving out of a demon in Luke 4:31-37 gives us one clue. Another comes in Luke 13:10-17 where the woman crippled by “a spirit” is said to have been “bound by Satan” and is now “loosed”.
Throughout the Gospel account, according to Luke, we get a picture of Jesus entering the kingdom of Satan and releasing those who are “bound”.
Luke is very ‘directional’ in his story. It begins with Joseph and Mary traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem (near Jerusalem), whereas Matthew simply mentions that the birth took place in Bethlehem.
Luke has a central section from Luke 9:51 thru Luke 18:34, or even to 19:44 in which Jesus is traveling from Galilee to Jerusalem. Here is the Son of God, starting at the edge of Satan’s kingdom, so to speak, and moving steadily toward the center where the salvation history will be played out.
This testing story is this movement played out in miniature:
a) Satan confronts Him (Jesus) in the wilderness
b) Satan confronts Him again on a high mountain (Jerusalem is up in the mountains)
c) Satan finally confronts Him in Jerusalem itself.
Matthew focuses on Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and as the ‘True Son’ that Israel failed to be.
Luke focuses on Jesus moving toward Jerusalem as the Son of God invading Satan’s kingdom and bringing God’s salvation in history to those whom Satan has bound.
Both pictures are true, but neither is complete in itself.