Class 4 of Talmidim took us into the wilderness with Jesus just after His baptism to see how He models trust and dependence on God. Jesus’ journey into the desert shows us how Israel was meant to walk with God. His 40 days are about much more than resisting temptation. They are about depending on God for EVERYTHING. We see in this His responses to Satan which are rooted deeply in Deuteronomy chapters 6 & 8 where God is calling upon Israel to remember their 40 year “wandering” in the wilderness. Perhaps there is much more then to the temptations in Luke 4 than simply hunger and power.
The audio for this session (see below for download) cuts off around 33:53 after I describe the third temptation in Luke 4 and then resumes with Satan leaving Jesus until an opportune time. When you listen it’s hard to tell and sounds like I just skip the rest of this explanation. Unfortunately a very important point was not recorded that is perhaps the most significant “hagah” from this lesson. No problem. Maybe it’s meant to be described in more detail here. So read on with me.
After Jesus goes to Deuteronomy 6 & 8 to answer Satan’s first two temptations, the enemy wields Scripture as his own weapon. And what he quotes is quite crafty…with a stunning twist. After suggesting that Jesus jump from the highest point of the Temple, the evil one quotes Psalm 91:11-12, a Psalm of comfort which was most likely written by Moses after the wilderness journey. So while he doesn’t quote from the same place Jesus does, Satan cunningly enters the same part of the story! Is he really just tempting Jesus to show everyone that He can make a supernatural leap or is there more going on here? I believe the temptation is much deeper rooted. The enemy is trying to persuade Jesus to “rest” in God’s comfort rather than take the much more difficult road to the cross. But there is even more and it’s a shocking twist. To get it we MUST read the very next verse and at least consider the implications. Could Satan WANT Jesus to be reminded of an ancient prophecy? Psalm 91:13 says:
“You will tread tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.”
The enemy knows that Jesus knows the rest of this Text. It is not uncommon in Jewish thought for an object to symbolize both something good and something bad. Although Jesus is sometimes referred to as the “lion of Judah” Satan is also referred to as a lion as in 1 Peter 5:8. Here in Psalm 91:13, Satan is being referred to as a lion and a serpent. Why in the world would Satan WANT to remind Jesus of a prophecy that finds its origins all the way back in the Garden (Gen. 3:15)? Because perhaps he KNOWS what is at stake and he is taunting Jesus. You can almost hear the evil, sarcastic hiss: “Come on big guy, you know you want to crush me…so DO IT NOW! END THIS NOW…and you won’t have to worry any more about the cross!” But THIS clearly was NOT the plan. God’s plan was not only to crush Satan at the cross but to crush Jesus by inflicting Him with the sins of all mankind as “He who had no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21) so that “by His wounds we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5). Thank you to JESUS for faithfully journeying from the Judean desert to a much more difficult barren wasteland at Golgotha! How tempting it must have truly been to crush Satan prematurely. But He didn’t. He waited for God’s timing, just as He did with the bread. Hagah.
Download the AUDIO OF WEEK 4 HERE.
The Talmidim Process
A few weeks ago we launched a discipleship process at Tusculum for adults who want to seek more fully to be like Jesus! We will be following Jesus through the Gospel of Luke and journaling the ways in which we echo the Story and “hagah” (hunger) over each Word. This is done through weekly readings in the Text, weekly small groups that journey together in the Text and share the journey with one another, and a weekly class that seeks to create a hunger for the Word more fully. The weekly readings will almost always be a few chapters ahead of the class but you are encouraged to go back and reread the section discussed in class. This week our daily readings will take us into Luke 7 & 8 as follows:
Thursday (June 24): Luke 7:1-17
Friday (June 25): Luke 7:18-35
Saturday (June 26): Luke 7:36-50
Sunday: Discussions with Life Group
Monday (June 28): Luke 8:1-21
Tuesday (June 29): Luke 8:22-39