Chrysalis Bible study group Luke 3:21-4:13; the baptism of Jesus and the temptation

Luke 3:21-4:13
The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus of Nazareth


Luke has heaven opening as Jesus prays – after the Baptism not during.
-       Matthew – heaven opens AFTER Jesus left the water
-       Mark – as Jesus was coming up…he saw heaven being torn open.
-       John – The Baptist talks about Jesus’ baptism but John does not share the synoptics’ story

Key points –

1 Opening of heaven is not public at this point, it is known only to Jesus and possibly the Baptist (John 1:32)

2 Heaven and earth are united in the person of Jesus.  At this moment, he entered full realization of who he was, fully divine and fully human. 

3 The Temple becomes obsolete, this could be  why John’s Gospel has the clearing of the temple closely related.  Jesus is the new Temple, the way and the means of God’s putting right of his beautiful creation.

4 We need to meet with God before we can minister to others.


The Genealogy of Jesus

Matthew and Luke totally differ in some sections.
Luke adds Adam to Abraham
Much the same from Abraham to David (at least for male personnel)
David to Jesus  - totally different!

Were Mary and Joseph both descended from David?
Was Luke following Mary’s lineage due to the virgin birth?
Other ideas also made but in the end we are not sure why they differ.

1              They show Jesus’ full humanity
2              His descent from David – a prerequisite for a Messiah
3              In Matthew’s list the inclusion 4 women, 3 of  ill repute – Where has that come from?

Ruth is a Moabite woman, a descendent of Lot (of Sodom fame), Her people had been excluded from Israel, but by showing loyalty and bravery she was included into the Nation of Israel. She became the Great Grandmother of David.

Tamar – seduced her father in law, was threatened with death but was later found innocent. 

Rahab – a harlot from Jericho and a Gentile was included into Israel for allowing Joshua’s spies into Jericho.   She was an outsider.

Bathsheba – the woman with whom David committed adultery.

The common theme is that these women had all been abused and threatened our lusted after or excluded.  The Gospel of for everyone, not just the self -righteous men of Israel.

Jesus Temptation in the Wilderness

This occurs immediately after God’s unique affirmation. Jesus is not driven into the wilderness by the Spirit, he is IN the Spirit.

Jesus goes into the wilderness, away from towns for a time of deep reflection and soul searching.

Luke suggests that “for 40 days he was tempted by the Devil”  Not at the end of 40 days but for 40 days.

How long do we normally last against temptation?

This is all about what sort of Messiah Jesus was going to be.  Was he to be an avenging revolutionary King or something altogether different?

Luke underlines the adversary Jesus is fighting against: Not the corrupt Temple authorities, or the Roman Emperor.  He is fighting the cause of Evil.

The temptations:

1     If Jesus is the Son of God, can he not use his power to make life more comfortable for himself?  Jesus rejects this and replies that he will trust only in the word and the will of God and will test it against his knowledge of Holy Scripture.

IF you had the power to do anything, what would you first do?

2     If Jesus were to follow the ideas of the world he is being shown that he could set up a community or society based on caring ideals, of equality and diversity, a utopia.  BUT, he would have become subservient to the ways of the world, he would have to make deals and compromise with nation states, make alliances, enter into economic contracts etc.  This would have meant for Jesus worshipping Satan, or Mammon if you like; when his mission is to free the whole of creation from following the never ending cycle of violence and death.

How do we make compromises with Satan?  How do we learn not to?

3     Jesus is led to the pinnacle of the Temple, this is the highest point of the Temple at the edge of Solomon’s Colonade.  This is where people would have been thrown off prior to being stoned.  It nearly happened to Jesus (John 10:22-32).  Somehow it is not surprising that Luke also has Jesus nearly stoned to death in the immediately following verses, (Luke 14-28).  Satan holds the horror of the path Jesus has chosen before him and seeks to draw him astray.  It is the hardest temptation that will stay with Jesus throughout his ministry and will return at it’s strongest in Gethsemane. 

How do we face fear?  Who can we really trust?

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