Luke 4:3
And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Command this stone.—The singular form is somewhat more vivid than the plural, “these stones,” in St. Matthew.

Luke 4:3-12. The devil said, If thou be the Son of God, &c. — For an explanation of this whole paragraph, see notes on Matthew 4:3-10. The devil taketh him up into a high mountain, &c. — This temptation, which stands here as the second, is by Matthew placed the last of the three. To reconcile the evangelists, it may be observed, that Matthew recites the temptations in the order in which they occurred; for he plainly affirms this order by the particle then, Luke 4:5, and again Luke 4:10, and at the conclusion of this temptation says, that then the devil left him. In this order they appear to rise progressively in strength one above another; Matthew, therefore, having preserved the true order of the temptations, Luke must be supposed to have neglected it as a thing not very material. And the supposition may be admitted without weakening his authority in the least, for he connects the temptations only by the particle και, and, which imports that he was tempted in these several ways, without marking the time or order of the temptations, as Matthew appears to do.

4:1-13 Christ's being led into the wilderness gave an advantage to the tempter; for there he was alone, none were with him by whose prayers and advice he might be helped in the hour of temptation. He who knew his own strength might give Satan advantage; but we may not, who know our own weakness. Being in all things made like unto his brethren, Jesus would, like the other children of God, live in dependence upon the Divine Providence and promise. The word of God is our sword, and faith in that word is our shield. God has many ways of providing for his people, and therefore is at all times to be depended upon in the way of duty. All Satan's promises are deceitful; and if he is permitted to have any influence in disposing of the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, he uses them as baits to insnare men to destruction. We should reject at once and with abhorrence, every opportunity of sinful gain or advancement, as a price offered for our souls; we should seek riches, honours, and happiness in the worship and service of God only. Christ will not worship Satan; nor, when he has the kingdoms of the world delivered to him by his Father, will he suffer any remains of the worship of the devil to continue in them. Satan also tempted Jesus to be his own murderer, by unfitting confidence in his Father's protection, such as he had no warrant for. Let not any abuse of Scripture by Satan or by men abate our esteem, or cause us to abandon its use; but let us study it still, seek to know it, and seek our defence from it in all kinds of assaults. Let this word dwell richly in us, for it is our life. Our victorious Redeemer conquered, not for himself only, but for us also. The devil ended all the temptation. Christ let him try all his force, and defeated him. Satan saw it was to no purpose to attack Christ, who had nothing in him for his fiery darts to fasten upon. And if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. Yet he departed but till the season when he was again to be let loose upon Jesus, not as a tempter, to draw him to sin, and so to strike at his head, at which he now aimed and was wholly defeated in; but as a persecutor, to bring Christ to suffer, and so to bruise his heel, which it was told him, he should have to do, and would do, though it would be the breaking of his own head, Ge 3:15. Though Satan depart for a season, we shall never be out of his reach till removed from this present evil world.Being forty days tempted - That is, through forty days he was "tried" in various ways by the devil. The temptations, however, which are recorded by Matthew and Luke did not take place until the forty days were finished. See Matthew 4:2-3.

He did eat nothing - He was sustained by the power of God during this season of extraordinary fasting.

CHAPTER 4

Lu 4:1-13. Temptation of Christ.

(See on [1564]Mt 4:1-11.)

Ver. 3,4. See Poole on "Matthew 4:3". See Poole on "Matthew 4:4". It is very observable, that Christ here asserts the authority of the Scriptures; and though he was full of the Holy Ghost, yet maketh the Holy Scripture his rule of action.

And the devil said unto him,.... Who now visibly appeared, and spoke unto him with an articulate voice:

if thou be the Son of God; as has been just now declared by a voice from heaven; or seeing thou art in such a relation to God, and so equal to him, and possessed of all divine perfections, and among the rest, of almighty power; wherefore, since thou art hungry, and in a wilderness, where no food is to be had,

command this stone that it be made bread; say but the word, and this stone, which he held out to him, or pointed at, as lying before them, or any one of the stones, which were in sight, for Matthew speaks of them in the plural number, will immediately be converted into bread, if he was what he was said to be: this he suggests might easily be effected by him, and he had no need to continue hungry.

{2} And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.

(2) Christ, being tempted by Satan, first to distrust in God, secondly to the desire of riches and honour, and lastly to a vain confidence in himself, overcomes him three times by the word of God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 4:3-4. First temptation.—τῷ λίθῳ τ.: possibly the stone bore a certain resemblance to a loaf. Vide Farrar’s note (C. G. T.), in which reference is made to Stanley’s account (Sinai and Palestine, p. 154) of “Elijah’s melons” found on Mount Carmel, as a sample of the crystallisations found in limestone formations.

3. If thou be the Son of God] Doubtless an allusion to the divine Voice at His baptism (Luke 3:22). The same words were tauntingly addressed to our Lord on the Cross (Matthew 27:40). The Greek strictly means “Assuming that Thou art,” but in Hellenistic Greek words and phrases are not always used with their earlier delicate accuracy.

command this stone] The Greek implies that the suggestion called direct attention to a particular stone. In this desert there are loaf-shaped fossils known to early travellers as lapides judaici, and to geologists as septaria. Some of these siliceous accretions assume the shape of fruit, and are known as ‘Elijah’s melons’ (Stanley, Sin. and Pal. 154). They were popularly regarded as petrified fruits of the Cities of the Plain. Such deceptive semblances would intensify the pangs of hunger, and add to the temptation the additional torture of an excited imagination. (See a sketch of such a septarium in the Illustrated Edition of my Life of Christ, p. 99.)

that it be made bread] Rather, that it may become a loaf. The subtle malignity of the temptation is indescribable. It was a temptation to “the lust” (i. e. the desire) “of the flesh;” a temptation to gratify a natural and blameless appetite; an appeal to free-will and self-will, closely analogous to the devil’s first temptation of the race. ‘You may; you can; it will be pleasant: why not?’ (Genesis 3:1-15). But it did not come in an undisguisedly sensuous form, but with the suggestive semblance of Scriptural sanctions (1 Kings 19:8; Deuteronomy 8:16; Psalm 78:19).

Verse 3. - And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. It has been quaintly said of the tempter "that he had sped so successfully to his own mind by a temptation about a matter of eating with the first Adam, that he practiced the old manner of his trading with the second." These diabolical promptings have been spoken of already in this Commentary as "typical." They represent, indeed, some of the principal temptations to which different classes of men and women in all ages are subject; the hard task of bread-winning, after all, suggests very many of the evil thoughts and imaginings to which men are subject, though, perhaps, they suspect it not. Weakened and exhausted by long abstinence from food, the temptation to supply his wants by this easy means at once was great. Still, had he consented to the tempter's suggestion, Jesus was aware that he would have broken the conditions of that human existence to which, in his deep love for us fallen beings, he had voluntarily consented and submitted himself. Should he, then, use his miraculous power for his own advantage? Then, re-membering his own late experience, the long fast from all human food, and yet life enduring through it all; calling to mind the miraculous supply of manna in the old desert days, the preservation of Elijah's life through a similar fast, - Jesus, all faint and weary, exclaims in reply, "Man shall not live by bread alone." Luke 4:3This stone

Matthew, these stones.

Bread (ἄρτος)

Lit., a loaf. See on Matthew 4:3. Matthew has the plural loaves.

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