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Luke 4:1-13

Lesson Focus We’re often tempted to use the resources God gives us for our own fulfillment. Jesus shows us that we must use what we have been provided for others.

Lesson Outcomes Through this lesson, students should:

  1. Understand what the devil was trying to accomplish by tempting Jesus.

  2. Understand that Jesus is tempted to misuse his power as God’s Son.

  3. Understand that temptation comes, not as a pull to do great evil but to serve ourselves above God and others.

  4. Contemplate the temptations that they suffer and how they might withstand those temptations.

Catching up on the Story Jesus has just been baptized by John the Baptist. His public ministry hasn’t yet started, but we have already become acquainted with Jesus, his origins, and his destiny to a certain extent. Luke has given us an extensive birth narrative, has recorded for us his genealogy, and has let us listen in to the voice of God proclaiming that Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus’ public ministry is about to begin.

In the weeks that follow, it will become clear that much preparation must be done before Jesus and his disciples (us too!) are ready for the events of Holy Week.

In this passage, Jesus is the one being prepared for his journey toward the cross. What is certain is that there will be many temptations along this journey. Along with Christ, we will have to rely on the power of God’s Holy Spirit to show us the way to resist temptation so that we might be ready for what God is doing.

The Text Jesus is about to begin his public ministry. He is now fully grown and has received public confirmation that he is God’s Son at his baptism. Not only was Jesus confirmed publicly as God’s Son, but he also received the Holy Spirit. At the beginning of the temptation narrative and other important events in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus does great deeds with the power of the Spirit.

Also, it will be essential to note that this entire exchange is deeply situated in Jewish thought and scripture. Both the devil and Jesus use scripture to make their points. The devil uses scripture to entice Jesus to serve himself, and Jesus uses scripture to note that serving himself is antithetical to his mission in life.

Finally, this passage sets the stage for the rest of the narrative movement in Luke’s gospel. Jesus, in refusing to exercise messiahship in the ways that would elevate himself at the expense of God’s mission of salvation, defines for us the true nature of God. It also lays out how we should see ourselves about God