Journal Luke 4 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And (Jesus) ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread…” Jesus answered him, “It is written…”
The devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time and said, “If you, then, will worship me, it will all become yours…” And Jesus answered him, “It is written…”
And (the devil) took him to Jerusalem, to the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for “it is written”, “He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” And Jesus answered him, “It is said…”
And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.” (Excerpts from Luke 4:1-13, some portions paraphrased for effect…)
Observation: One of the best stories to emphasize the Supremacy of the Word of God to man.
Oh, to be able to answer every temptation that comes my way with, “It is written…” instead of a weak “no.”
Analysis: This story is not about the physical and spiritual superiority of Jesus.
I say that tongue in cheek because, when I think about fasting (no matter what kind of fasting we can think of), fasting for 40 days (6 weeks!!) is still extraordinary fasting—going without something in the belly for a very long time. I am “thinking” about fasting for a day, just water, and it is tough—I am ready to break the fast at the time target. When the scriptures say Jesus was hungry, my thought is “Duh!! I’ll bet!”
The devil was permitted to tempt Jesus (see Job 1 through 3 for the process the devil must go through) at perhaps the physically weakest point so far in his life.
I try to imagine what this scenario was like. Did the devil slither up to Jesus like he did Eve and whisper, “Hungry, hungry, hear the growling in the belly…certainly it would be OK to turn a pebble or two into bread to quiet the tummy rumblies, uhm?”
Jesus, physically weak as he was from 6 weeks of eating nothing, perhaps mind cloudy, panting from exertion just trying to sit up, had clarity enough to remember and whisper firmly, “It is written…”
“It is written…” How powerful are those 3 words, potent is the principle, and yet how daunting they are for disciples? It is an objective that is lifelong in pursuing. It is more than just memorization; it is the integration of the Word of God intentionally, reflexively, into the life of a believer.
What is my want, my vision? What is my plan to accomplish what I just theorized?
CH Spurgeon, saying in reference of John Bunyan, “Prick him anywhere; and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his soul is full of the Word of God.”
Pretty solid reference of a vision to pursue, coming from a man upon whose shoulders God has given us to stand upon…
Old dead guys rule!
Prayer: O Lord, that I could even come close to matching You like this when temptations occur. Most times, a weak “no” is the best I can conjure up. But like I wrote a few days ago, to learn and pack my heart systematically, orderly, and compile your Word precept upon precept, doctrine upon doctrine, line upon line, etc., so that I can have certainty, not wavering in faith, that, when temptations come (and they will), no matter how weak I am, I can firmly say, “It is written…”
I want to pursue this all my days, until my last breath…
Ricky Two Shoes