The Son of God
In yesterday’s reading Jesus was baptised and the Father said, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” Today, we read (you did read it didn’t you?!) a long genealogy of unpronounceable names that ends with the son of Adam, the son of God. Then in chapter 4 Satan assaults Jesus with “If you are the Son of God…”
As John Piper writes about Jesus’ baptism:
When Jesus was baptized along with all the repenting people who wanted to be on God’s side, it was as though the commander-in-chief had come to the front lines, fastened his bayonet, strapped on his helmet, and jumped into the trench along with the rest of us. And when he did that, his Father in heaven, who had sent him for this very combat, signified with the appearance of a dove that the Holy Spirit would be with him in the battles to come.
Matthew’s genealogy only goes back to Abraham and is slightly different to Luke’s. Ancient genealogies weren’t always intended to accurately record each generation, they bring out important points. And in small and close knit communities, there is every possibility one could trace ancestors by two or more different routes; (mine fizzles out in the 18th C, because you can’t be quite sure which illiterate, illegitimate Cornish tin miner was involved!). The key point in Luke’s is that Jesus is the Son of God. Adam was unique – he was directly created, son of God. He was the head of all to come. Adam was tempted and failed and brought sin into the world. In the next paragraph Jesus was tempted, but didn’t fail and is able therefore to die on our behalf, in our place in what John Stott called the great exchange. Hallelujah!
The temptations in chapter 4 are a big deal. If Jesus failed, all is lost. There are three ways Jesus was prepared for battle:
He was filled with the Spirit, v1
Jesus is our best example of being completely full of the Spirit and led by the Spirit.
He had spent 40 days in solitude, v1-2
He went away from family, friends and crowds and lived in the desert for forty days. That’s almost six weeks. No radio. No television. No Facebook, No email. That wasn’t the only time Jesus went to be alone to recharge with the Father (Luke 5:16) is another example. Anointing requires solitude – alone time with the Father
He had spent 40 days fasting, v2
When they were over “he was hungry”. God gives us everything richly to enjoy (1 Tim 6:17) – to choose to go without, means that we savour God more than what He gives us. Again I love what John Piper has to say about this – it’s a bit challenging!
This is what it means to be filled with the Spirit—to be so full of God and his purposes that food, even after forty days of fasting, does not control us. Paul said (in Ephesians 5:18), “Do not be drunk with wine … but be filled with the Spirit” (see Luke 1:15). Conquer your physical addictions with spiritual addictions. No other way will bear long-term fruit. Drive the demon of gluttony out the front door and seven more will come in the back, unless you fill your house with the Holy Spirit. Jesus was full from the start and no demon ever had a toehold in his marvellous life of discipline.
Notice that Jesus’ battle with Satan was in the preparatory 40 days too – v2.
Luke then records 3 examples of temptations that are hugely contemporary. Satan skips over adultery, fornication, stealing, lying, murder—those temptations are too obvious – demons will use those on weak saints. Satan brings out the big guns – religious stuff using the Bible! He goes for comfort – have some bread for you hunger. He goes for glory without suffering – worship me and you can all these kingdoms. Then Satan tempts Jesus to avoid the suffering that will win our salvation – jump off the temple and let the angels catch you.
To each one Jesus answers with Scripture showing how Satan had twisted the Scriptures. The challenge for us…
Are you living full of the Spirit? – do you take time to soak in God’s presence so you can do the day full and on fire?
Are you full of the Scriptures? – would you notice false teachers using Scripture badly to get you to follow their nonsense? These daily readings are a great start.