LUKE 4:1-30 – Authorized to Act
To ever-present issue of being authorized to act, is embedded at the heart of everyday human experience. Even as head of a team at work, I’m not authorized to act without permission from the owner – and this should be in writing, such as a job description or a budget agreed to at the beginning of each year.
When our school-age daughter burst into tears at our kitchen table and told us that the man who was flashing in our neighbourhood, had indecently exposed himself also to her, I couldn’t hang out in that public garden hoping for him to return so that I could beat him with a stick to within an inch of his life – though I planned that imaginary scenario day and night for days until I had to give it into the hands of God and the police.
None of us are authorized to act in any walk of life without at least some stipulations that we’re to adhere to. But the biggest question hanging over the world is: Who’s authorized to act on our behalf between humanity and our Maker? Or, if a back-track away from the Creator God: Which god out there is authorized as the god-of-all-gods who is the authority behind “truth”? In a world dripping with conflicting philosophies, which one is right and what authority has one person over another.
On this website, I’m following the idea of the existence and involvement of the Creator God. In HIStory, we’ve seen people like Abraham and Moses having authority to act on behalf of the Creator God. Of the three world religions who believe in the Creator God (and who make up more than half the world’s population) all agree that, so far in my Breadcrumbs, Abraham and Moses had authority to act on behalf of the Creator God i.e. Abraham was given authority to start a family of global influence.[a] And Moses was given authority to act by giving the world our Maker’s Guidebook for Life.[b] This is proven true because it’s been miraculously preserved and handed down as it was originally written these 3+ millenniums so that we can freely read it today.
However, it’s here at this point in our journey of discovery, that my Breadcrumbs move into a place where only 2.8 billion people in the world agree with me. So, with the risk of losing my 1.5 billion other listeners, some things must be said before going on.
For one thing, it’s not just normal to question authority, it’s vital – especially when you’re risking your eternal future on a gamble. Even John the Baptist (the man in my last two Breadcrumbs) questioned if He was pinning his hopes on the wrong guy.[c] Now is our only chance – in this life and with the time we have been given – to fully investigate our spiritual future. And I would strongly suggest read the Creator God’s story (cover-to-cover) before you decide that Jesus has no authority to act on your behalf.
With that said, let me now explain why my investigations have indicated not just that full divine authority has been given to Jesus to act as mediator between humanity and their Maker, but that this authority is universal – covering every one of the Creator’s 7+billion image-bearers. Wow – ok – so let’s get started…
Bearing in mind that the Creator God is 100% in everything – i.e. He doesn’t make mistakes nor does He operate in half measures – then this “servant” that the Creator was sending would surely be 100% perfect for the task set before Him. He wouldn’t be a sub-standard person unable to match the job description. So, before you can look at discussing possible “servants” to follow, who have that authority to act on your behalf when it comes to connecting you with your Maker, you need to look at what the Creator God said in the previous 800 years about the one He was sending. Among others, Isaiah the prophet gave us our greatest clues:
“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” [Isaiah 9:6-7]
100% authority because the Creator God’s Name is in Him. If He is to be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, then I certainly want to know who He is, so that He’ll act on my behalf to restore my relationship with my Maker. My eternal future is at stake and, like John the Baptist, I want to be pinning my hopes on the right guy.
Now we come to today’s chapter and the stage scene opens with Jesus “full of the Spirit” (that is 100% full – not half full) and being led by the Spirit into the wilderness. [v1] Now this doesn’t sound too exciting because many other “prophets” did such things. But Jesus started from a significant point. He was baptised opposite Jericho.[d] This was the place at which the Israelites entered into Israel after 40 years in the wilderness, at the end of the Book of Deuteronomy.[e] For 40 days and nights Jesus wandered in the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. But what’s in all mean?
The Creator God doesn’t do random and there’s no such thing as co-incidence. Everything has meaning, everything is important and all of it is connected within His incredibly complex plan. It was as if Jesus was taking the yarn that had been knitted together to create HIStory, and began to unravel it back to a ball of wool. Or, as Isaiah the prophet graphically put it, the tree was back to the stump and then grew from one shoot.[f]
Using my “ball of wool” example, today’s chapter is played out as if Jesus picked up HIStory after it had unravelled so horribly in the past centuries and, with that same yarn in His hands, He began to redo HIStory – this time doing it for Father God in the all right. If this is true, then it makes sense that He start repairing HIStory at the point where it went wrong. For 40 days and nights – each day symbolic of every year that God’s family wandered in the wilderness – Jesus also wandered about. This time, however, instead of the people testing, disobeying and treating God with contempt[g], satan tested Jesus luring Him to disobey and treated Him with contempt. [v2] “…If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread…” [v3]
Press the pause button.
At this point in the storyline, no one has said anything about Jesus being the Son of God. John the Baptist said that He was “the Chosen one”[h] – but (as already mentioned above) he seemed to doubt later and needed confirmation. It was only the voice from heaven – Father God Himself – and now satan, who have come outright with the concept of Jesus being the Son of God. When satan said: “If you are the Son of God….”, He’s not in doubt over Jesus identity. He’s showing contempt for the Creator God’s words – just as he did in the Garden of Eden when he asked Eve, “Did God really say…”[i]
So now we have an incredibly important piece of information in our hands. The two key players in this global drama – the Father of Creation and the father of lies – connecting Jesus to concept of the Son of God. But the next clue is in what satan says…
Satan test Jesus over bread. [v4] The first thing the Israelites tested God with and the thing the Father God fed them on for 40 years – manna/bread. Unlike Eve, who got tumbled up on what the Creator God actually said, Jesus knew God’s word like the back of His hand and used only that to fight back. But there’s more. If John was right: “…The Word became flesh and mad His dwelling among us…”[j] then Jesus was God’s “manna” (their spiritual food) in the desert. As the Living Word of God, Jesus was the Bread of Life.[k] He was confident in Father God – he wouldn’t die of hunger because Father God provided bread for forty years for an entire nation!
Next, satan took Jesus to a high mountain and show him the world – offering him all the authority and splendour that he could possible want. Bearing in mind again that Jesus was in the wilderness opposite Jericho, this is ironic. Satan is doing for Jesus what the Creator did for Moses.[l] The Creator took Moses up a high mountain and miraculously showed him the entire country of Israel. In an instant, satan shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and offers them in exchange for worship. [v5-7] But if Isaiah the prophet was right, 800 years earlier, and “…the government will be on His shoulders…” then Jesus didn’t need to strike up a sub-standard, counterfeit deal with satan.
With the stomach and with future security not working, satan finally tried getting Jesus to suicide but twisting God’s words – just as he twisted them on Eve. [v9-11]
Whether you can, at this stage, concede that Jesus is God’s Son – as announced by the Voice from Heaven – some things are clear. Jesus knows God’s Word and uses it to “fight his demons”. And, unlike the children of Israel who perished in the wilderness for lack of trust in their Maker, Jesus knew that humanity can’t live for the stomach alone. [v4] If we want our spirit to live, then any hope of sustained LIFE comes from every word that comes from the mouth of God.[m] Unlike those who built a golden calf in the wilderness, we’re to worship our Maker [v8], and not put His grace to the test. [v12]
And so today’s chapter, is like a personal pilgrimage to the desert floor where the story of this nation began. Jesus’ ability not to test God, or to be tempted, proves to me that He’s up for the job set before Him. All these threads of information, and inter-locking puzzle pieces, are extremely important information for us because, (i) Jesus is being made ready by Someone who’s authorized to act[n]; and (ii) satan’s gone, but the fight’s not over yet. [v13]
From this time on, Jesus (now about 30 years old) begins His ministry in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. [v14] And two things are again important for us here…
If you’re wondering about the prophet, guru or spiritual leader that you’re following, ask whether they’re operating in the power of the Creator’s Holy Spirit. In what they say or write, is there any mention of God’s Holy Spirit? They may have seen angels, they may claim to have a divine prophecy/message, or even be performing miracles, but are they giving glory to God, pointing people to Him and His power, or do they come under their own steam?
The second thing, when Jesus’ popularity began to grow [v15,22], He wasn’t afraid to lose friends -just as all the prophets before Him had lost friends in order to speak the Creator God’s words. So what stood out for me today was that – despite what anyone tells me about the authority that Jesus has to act on my behalf – it was never His message or His ministry that was the problem. [v22] It was His method that landed Him in hot water right from the beginning. [v23-30]
Apparently, it was ok for Jesus to say that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him. It was fine for Him to be anointed to preach the “gospel” (good news) to the poor. No one got upset when He said that He (the Creator God) had sent Him to proclaim release to the captives. Nor was any eyebrows raise when He said He was authorized to recover the sight to the blind, set free the oppressed or proclaim the favourable year of the Lord. [v18-19]
They didn’t mind Him applying the direct fulfilment of an 800-year-old prophecy to Himself. [v21] This is hugely important for asking oneself, What’s wrong with Jesus? Was He the One that was to come, or should we look for someone else? Because what caused an uproar, and almost got Him thrown from a cliff less than a month after launching, wasn’t His identity or His teaching at all. [v22] All hell broke loose and all His listeners were “filled with rage” [v28], when He mentioned the Creator God’s Grace passing from Israel to the foreigners. [v25-27]
If you choose to decide that Jesus is bad and shouldn’t be followed, the people in today’s chapter drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill in order to throw Him down the cliff! [v29] But what was so wrong with Him? King Solomon of Israel once said: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.”[o] And through the prophet Jeremiah, Father God said, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”[p]
Jesus’ “cardinal sin” in today’s chapter wasn’t related at all over the topic of whether or not He was authorized to act on our behalf – restoring the relationship between mankind and our Maker. The problem appears only to be His message of grace given away to apparently undeserving people. But if you’ve been following my breadcrumbs from the beginning, you will have already noticed that unrestricted grace for all nationalities was the Creator God’s plan all along.[q]
CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”
[a] Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14 and Acts 3:25
[b] “Guidebook for Life” = 1st five books of the Bible
[c] Matthew 11:2-6
[d] John 1:28 and Joshua 3:1&14-17
[e] Deuteronomy 31:1
[f] Isaiah 11:1
[g] Numbers 14:21-23
[h] John 1:34
[i] Genesis 3:1
[j] John 1:14
[k] John 6:25-51
[l] Deuteronomy 34:1-4
[m] Deuteronomy 8:3
[n] Malachi 3:1
[o] Ecclesiastes 12:13
[p] Jeremiah 32:27
[q] Genesis 12:3