Shane L. Bishop
The temptations occur in the Southern Desert around the Dead Sea. Jesus is tempted with food, power and fame. He wards off the temptations with his knowledge of scripture. This knowledge was gained as a boy. Why is teaching children Scripture essential? Note Satan departs but will return. Such are the terms of living in a fallen world. Note Luke’s use of the concept of the Holy Spirit. It is linked with power. Synagogues were located in villages with 10 or more Jewish families. Like churches today, some were large and others small. They were dedicated to prayer and Scripture reading and welcomed “all comers” to share. Jesus often took the opportunity but this time it was in his home town. This is like going back to your “home church.” All seems well until they question him and after a rather scathing story about Elijah, they are suddenly enraged. They took Jesus to a cliff to throw him off but he “slipped” through the crowd. There is a sense of the supernatural in this thought. Next, we move to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. It is called several names throughout history but it is a freshwater lake, not a sea. Once again we note that Jesus both healed diseases and cast out demons. He is gaining fame because of his healing and deliverance ministry. When the people desire to keep him in the region, he cites a wider calling. Teaching on the lake was all about the wind. A speaker just off shore with a wind to their back could be heard from some distance. Finding a good spot to preach was a part of the considerations Jesus had to make.
Forty is a number that is commonly seen throughout the Bible. The temptation of Christ lasted forty days. Noah and his family survived the forty days of rain and flooding. Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai. And of course, the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years. The number forty in the Bible often signifies a time of testing or trial.
*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke