Wow! The 4th chapter of Luke is a killer! I’ve read it more than a few times and the negativity is frightening. And, it should be.
Jesus was baptized. He walked among us and did what we needed to do. In this chapter, Jesus was really experiencing what others were experienced.
After His baptism, Jesus was left in the desert without food or water for 40 days. Lost, literally and spiritually. The Devil approached Jesus and tempted Him three times. The one we remember best is the Devil’s suggestion that Jesus turn a stone into a loaf of bread. Jesus told him that “Man does not live by bread alone”. After being unsuccessful, the Devil left Jesus … waiting to return at a more opportune time. Remember that.
After averting Satan, Jesus goes to His people and begins preaching. He goes to Nazareth and reads in the temple, as he had done before. Jesus read from the prophesies of Isaiah and simply said that God had sent Him to preach the gospel to poor people; to heal the brokenhearted; to set captives free; to help the blind see (moral and spiritual blindness); and to grant liberty to people who are oppressed. He made two important points. He told the people that Isaiah was talking about HIM. He told the people that the time for all this to happen was NOW. This message wasn’t well received, and his audience attempted to run him out of town. Jesus slipped away.
Later in the chapter, we read of Jesus casting out a demon. There was no lengthy exorcism rite like we see in movies! Jesus simply told the demon to be quiet and to leave the man. The demon did!
It is in this chapter where Luke tells the story of Jesus having healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, causing a fever to leave her and returning to her the strength she needed.
Jesus finally found a quiet place where he could be alone, and he went to that place.
My take-away from this chapter is multi-faceted! If you don’t believe that the Devil is real, turn on the evening news. He is ever present. If you have never encountered the Devil in one of life’s situations, good for you! I have. Professionally, I have dealt with people … one in particular … who was without question filled with the spirit of the Devil. She still is. She is at her best satanic self when her targets are vulnerable.
If you don’t believe in demons, talk to people who work in psychiatric hospitals. The demons their patients need to control are very real.
If temptation doesn’t seem possible to you. Just think back upon your life’s choices. Was there ever a time when you almost made the wrong choice?
I think my favorite part of this chapter is the description of Jesus needing a quiet place, time to Himself. The Son of God needed private time. I’d say it is ok for us to need that private time, too! Make time for yourself. Make time for prayer, worship, reflection. We are healthier for it.