January 13, 2020

Courage Under Fire

Luke 4:1–30

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The Temptation of Jesus

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

  “‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
    and him only shall you serve.’”

And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

  “‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    to guard you,’

11 and

  “‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Jesus Begins His Ministry

14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18   “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19   to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph's son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers1 in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.


[1] 4:27 Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13

Courage Under Fire

Key Verse | Luke 4:1

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.

Bio | Patricia Simmons

As a believer, I am tempted daily and often fail to win the battle against Satan as I should. I find myself to be:

Complacent when it comes to my sin,

Overcome with my own self-importance,

Undeserving of the grace I have been given,

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb,

Adopted into the family of God,

Given a new life in Jesus,

Empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Thanks be to God! May I serve Him with a courageous heart. I have been given life everlasting. My Heavenly Father deserves nothing less than everything I have.

Central Truth

As a man, Christ faced temptation, trials, betrayal, beatings, and even death but passed every test courageously. There are no shortcuts to glory. Jesus hung on a cross before He sat on a throne.

Devotional | Luke 4:1–30

Today's passage begins with Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness and ends with Jesus' rejection in Nazareth. Jesus was "led by the Spirit" for 40 days of testing. Our Savior is tempted in...

Today's passage begins with Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness and ends with Jesus' rejection in Nazareth. Jesus was "led by the Spirit" for 40 days of testing. Our Savior is tempted in three ways we understand: 

1. The temptation to allow physical cravings to rule life;

2. The temptation to give your heart to someone or something other than God; 

3. The temptation to manipulate the will of God for your own purposes.

"For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world." (1 John 2:16) Jesus resisted temptation because He walked with the Word and in the Spirit, two resources available to all believers. If we want Satan to leave us alone, we must KNOW the Word of God and APPLY it to a heart that's indwelled by the Holy Spirit. One does not work without the other.

The second half of the passage takes us to Nazareth where Jesus continues to walk in the power of the Spirit after experiencing victory. Satan may use temptation to defeat us, but it can be God's way to strengthen and build us up in the faith. Jesus teaches in the synagogue, but the people demand a miracle and do not like what they hear instead. A hometown welcome turns into an angry mob trying to toss Jesus off a cliff. Christ shows restraint and that God's miraculous power operates in unexpected and sovereign ways.

So, what can we learn from these two very different incidents in the life of Christ? Jesus has the courage of conviction to stand strong, facing Satan and man. He is God in the flesh and has come to redeem all of mankind with His death. No temptation, trial, or angry mob will change the focus of His purpose. As believers and the recipients of His sacrifice, we must emulate HIS courage. Are we prepared to face Satan and his mob? The Word and the Spirit give us all we need to be victorious. 

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Discussion Questions

1.  Are we allowing something other than the soul/spirit/will to rule our life? Are we so complacent with our flesh and its desires that we feel defeated? Take heart. We are falling for a temptation that Jesus was tempted with as well.

2. If an objective third party viewed our lives and our hearts, would they say our hearts truly belonged to God, or is someone or something more important? Do our hearts and lives belong to a relationship? A hobby? A career? A sports team? Material wealth? An addiction? 

3.  How often do our prayers sound like requests to get God to sign off on what we've already decided we want to do? Who's really in the driver's seat in our lives? Is it us or God?

4.  Who or what is the "angry mob" in life? Is it old friends before life with Christ? Is it a workplace that is hostile to Christianity? Is it a family that grew up without Jesus? Are we courageous enough to speak the truth and face the consequences of their wrath to share Jesus?

5. Do we spend time feeding and nourishing the Holy Spirit that lives within us? Do we study God's Word like we are preparing for our final exam? Our lives depend on it!

14 Comments available

Patricia Simmons 7 months ago
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Tiago; the people were angry for reasons ongoing throughout Jesus’ ministry. He was a hometown boy claiming to be The Messiah. They did not recognize this which is similar to the Pharisees who would plot to have Him killed. Then Jesus won’t even perform a miracle…(similar to satan asking Jesus to throw himself off the top of the temple.) Finally he quotes the Isaiah passage saying the Gospel message will be fulfilled through Him and taken to the Gentiles. This rejection is a foreshadowing of the ultimate rejection of Jesus that takes him to the cross. So the answer to your question is yes…They were angry for all of the above. Their hardened hearts could not or would not see who was standing before them, so they reject and try to kill the very Son of God sent to save them.

Shannon Mathis 7 months ago

these reflection questions were thanks Patricia !!!

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

Jesus 'full of the Holy Spirit" is led by the Spirit to go into the wilderness.

Jesus is recapitulating history of man. He is tempted like Adam the first man but alone, in a dessert not a garden, more difficult but victorious

Jesus is also recapitulating the history of Israel. They were led in a dessert 40 years, God not pleased with most of them. God pleased with Christ.

Tiago Jabur 7 months ago

I don’t really see why the people in the synagogue got angry. Was it because Jesus was claiming to have fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy or because e didn’t perform a miracle? I understand if it were the former but not the latter.

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

Q4 good question. Even the law says ‘do not follow a mob in doing wrong’

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

I like how Marvel’s super hero Luke Case is named after Luke chapter 4 because he sets the captives free.

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

Surprising how fast the people went from admiring Jesus ‘gracious words’ to wanting to throw him off a cliff.

God helping the gentile not Israel seemed to provoke a response.

greg jones 7 months ago

Q3 I wonder if our prayers are ever like temptations mentioned here in the ears of Christ?

Trey Collins 7 months ago

Good morning Patricia, thank you for the devo. I am a big fan of your question #2 as a litmus test.

I was reminded of Psalms 119:9,11 while reading this. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By storing (the Bible) in my heart. Thy word I have treasured in my heart that I may not sin against Thee”.

God uses scripture to dispel temptation, it rolls out of His heart into words. We/I can do the same, it is a proven formula. Am I speakong scripture instantly when sins temptation arrives?

Praying for us both this morning Patricia to be more like Christ in this way!

Douglas Harrison 7 months ago

I often forget Jesus knew everything that would happen to him, good and bad, before taking each step toward his death on the cross. He knew he would be resurrected, but still he greived with God that the cup would pass from him if there was another way. Jesus knew there was no other way, still there was grace to call out to the Lord in prayer over his anguish.

Lindsey Driscoll 7 months ago

Patricia, great questions for us today! Thank you For pointing out how Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, and how we too are to be to find courage! I see the continual themes in Luke: Jesus as man, the gold spirit in Jesus, Jesus in prayer.

Sue Bohlin 7 months ago

Beloved sisterfriend! Thank you for your excellent devo!

I am seeing that it was important to Luke to keep pointing to the role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life. I’m glad Hugh pointed out Dr. C’s teaching about Him as a “Spirit-empowered Man”; it shows us what kind of supernatural life we can live by surrendering to the Spirit just as Jesus did.

Today’s reading struck me about how Jesus SHONE with beautiful confidence in knowing who He was. That settledness of His spirit allowed Him to stand against the temptations of the enemy and the critical wrath of His hometownies. And, knowing what lay before Him, He also knew He wasn’t going to die by being thrown off a cliff. I hope there’s a video of this scene in heaven so we can watch Him do verbal ju-jitsu that allowed Him to just walk through a bloodthirsty crowd!

Hugh Stephenson 7 months ago

It is this understanding of Jesus as a “Spirit-empowered Man” that laid aside His powers at the incarnation that really illuminates Him for me. It opens up new understanding. It helps explain to me His sweating blood in Luke 22:42, overturning the tables in the Temple, and His weeping for Lazarus. It also explains His deep need for solitude, prayer and rest.

In this passage Jesus is

“…full of the Holy Spirit” “…led by the sprit” and “…in the power of the Spirit”

This state plus His reliance on Scripture to inform His response to Satan’s temptations is my model.

Hugh Stephenson 7 months ago

GM Patricia. Love your acrostic on COURAGE!!

What I have missed in prior reads of Luke and in this passage is a more complete understanding of the humanity and divinity of Jesus.

Constable edifies -

“As a man, Jesus was dependent on, and drew His strength from, the Father. We must not be too quick to ascribe Jesus’ superior powers to His being God. He laid aside the use of these powers in the Incarnation, and usually operated as a Spirit-empowered man. Luke helps us appreciate this about Jesus. He stressed the Holy Spirit’s enablement of Jesus. Luke alone recorded, “The Child continued to grow and to become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (2:40), and “Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (2:52).”

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