“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart. O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!”
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
Today we’ll be considering one of the places in the Bible where the devil himself quotes Scripture for his own purposes.
As we read the first part of verse 23, we might think that Luke is about to begin his description of Jesus’ public ministry. But Luke has a couple other things he wants to relate to us before getting into that. First, he wants to give us a record of Jesus’ genealogy, then he wants to tell us about a time Satan tempted Jesus.
Both the genealogy and the record of Jesus’ temptation are important. Both of them have to do with Jesus’ credibility, legitimacy, or credentials. Jesus’ genealogy proves that he has the correct ancestral line to act as the Messiah. And the fact that Jesus withstands Satan’s temptations proves that Jesus is faithfully committed to fulfilling God’s will in God’s way.
In the previous sections, we’ve heard from a variety of witnesses giving us their endorsement of Jesus as the Son of God. Now we see that Jesus’ genealogical record and his power to withstand temptation give further proof to the claim that Jesus is the Son of God.
We should also note that chapter 4 begins the second major section of the book. Everything up to this point was somewhat introductory. Chapters 4-9 records the first year of Jesus public ministry, which occurred mostly in Galilee.
Let’s see what we can learn from Jesus’ genealogy and his temptation.