Fasting, Temptation & the Beginning of the Ministry – 7-06-22

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Luke chapter 4 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Satan Tempts Jesus

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit [a]into the wilderness, being [b]tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, [c]but by every word of God.’ ”

[d]Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”

And Jesus answered and said to him, [e]“Get behind Me, Satan! [f]For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you,’

11 and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not [g]tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

13 Now when the devil had ended every [h]temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. 15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me [i]to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are [j]oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum,[k] do also here in Your country.’ ” 24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to [l]Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with [m]wrath, 29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. 30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.

Jesus Casts Out an Unclean Spirit

31 Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. 32 And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority. 33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, 34 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”

35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, [n]“Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. 36 Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” 37 And the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Peter’s Mother-in-Law Healed

38 Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was [o]sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. 39 So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.

Many Healed After Sabbath Sunset

40 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are [p]the Christ, the Son of God!”

And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to [q]speak, for they knew that He was the Christ.

Jesus Preaches in Galilee

42 Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; 43 but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” 44 And He was preaching in the synagogues of [r]Galilee.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 4:1 NU in
  2. Luke 4:2 tested
  3. Luke 4:4 NU omits but by every word of God
  4. Luke 4:5 NU And taking Him up, he showed Him
  5. Luke 4:8 NU omits Get behind Me, Satan
  6. Luke 4:8 NU, M omit For
  7. Luke 4:12 test
  8. Luke 4:13 testing
  9. Luke 4:18 NU omits to heal the brokenhearted
  10. Luke 4:18 downtrodden
  11. Luke 4:23 NU Capharnaum, here and elsewhere
  12. Luke 4:26 Gr. Sarepta
  13. Luke 4:28 rage
  14. Luke 4:35 Lit. Be muzzled
  15. Luke 4:38 afflicted with
  16. Luke 4:41 NU omits the Christ
  17. Luke 4:41 Or say that they knew
  18. Luke 4:44 NU Judea

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2-

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.”

Jesus was not half man and half God – he was 100% man and 100% God (more on that when we study the book of Hebrews). Being 100% human, he needed the filling of the Holy Spirit to start the work of His ministry. He had not yet given it to man – and this is the first record of a human being filled with the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament the spirit came upon them – but did not fill them.

So as we jump right in today – let us take some time to discuss fasting. Our health and physiology in America is very different than that of the clean Mediterranean diet of Jesus’s time. It is much more dangerous for us to fast. But it can be done and intermittent fasting as well as long fasts are a popular diet plan which can actually become and stay a permanent way of life and eating. Around the time I felt God telling me I had to fast (I hadn’t since I was a healthy, athletic teen) my brother was losing a lot of weight and telling everyone about this fasting plan for weight loss.
Here is the thing, weight loss can be a side effect of fasting and so can bloated hard tummies and weight gain. God knows they are side effects. It is ok to fast for spiritual reasons AND for weight loss at the same time. For some reason we tend to condemn enjoyment of the health benefits of fasting. God designed it that way and told us to fast and I am sure he had both the spiritual and physical benefits for us in mind when He instructed fasting.
But it is important to talk with your doctor about fasting and learn how to do it in our modern world.
I called the nutritionist who runs the fasting program my brother was in to get info. I was the first person who was in it for spiritual reasons. And if you have never done a full, water only, fast – you cannot just jump in and not eat for 40 days. Since Jesus made us, He knew that and must have lived a life full of regular (smaller) fasts.
In Jesus’s times and dating back further, there is suggested thought that people sucked on certain rocks. This gave them the extra minerals they needed in their diets. The clay pots they stored water in also added potassium and magnesium and sodium to their water as well as possibly other things. With water that was filled with electrolytes (as we call it) and minerals as well as live cultures – their fasts would have made them come out of it cleansed and MUCH healthier and stronger! However – still hungry!
I found it extremely interesting when the nutritionist told me I needed to add the electrolyte minerals to my water and supplement mineral water while fasting. And it is vital to do a shot of vinegar (the kind with the mother) to get the active cultures into your gut. Immediately I was amazed at the parallel making our water, and shot of vinegar a day, more like it was in the times of Jesus.
This guy’s fasting protocol also makes everyone start with a 13 hour fast a day (sleeping included) for a long period and working your body up into a long fast. And eating clean foods with reasonable portions during the eating window. And he even teaches what types of foods to break the fast with. There are also suggestions for blood sugar issues and preparing and easing your body in with those.  So I joined.
The online community is vulgar and shares weigh loss photos with little covering themselves.  So I bowed out of that community. I would love to help him start a group just for believers to learn to fast. But he is not a believer (yet).
I would recommend everyone practice regular fasting. King David often called for a fun up to sun set fast.  But learn how and ease into it as a life style. Lead yourself up to a long multi day fast.

We must be prepared. God kept Jesus hidden for a season and grew Him up, but when it was time – God pointed Him out.  When it is our time to step out into our calling and purpose – we too will appear marked, consecrated to God, and the enemy will know who and where we are.  The devil is not all knowing, but he can see who God has a finger on.

And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”

So I have to ask – are you HUNGRY. I mean STARVING for the word of God!!! To me, it feels like the more I eat of the word, the hungrier I am for more. I AM HUNGRY! How about you? You can pray that God gives you a hunger for His word.
The word says He will provide my daily bread – I am hungry for His provisions. The word says I am blessed and highly favored – I am hungry for His grace. The word says He will work all things out for my good – and I am hungry for GOOD!

5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Yes – it is true. The enemy has authority and dominion over the Earth. Man lost it, was tricked and gve it to the enemy. It was ours. Jesus is coming again to take it back for us. But that is a lesson for another day. Today’s lesson is that the enemy will come at us with things of this world to put before God.
Yesterday, I felt God say to share what he has done lately with some new friends to encourage them. BUT THEN, I learned my Uncle passed away and no one who knew (my brother and cousin) were willing to or able to tell the rest of the family. So I had to. No problem – but one things leads to another and what is mine and what is not mine. What is being thrown at me as a distraction? Instead of testifying of God’s goodness – I asked for prayer for wisdom and comfort.
Do you know what would have been very wise? Telling of God’s goodness like He told me to. I did after. And one lady said she really needed to hear that.
God comes first. No matter what.

Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ 11 and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

Hold up – let’s read that passage in the Old Testament. I am sure the enemy isn’t quoting it right. He tells half-truths to trick and ensnare us!

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.  In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.” Psalm 91:11-13 NKJV

So the devil quotes scripture but leaves off the part about walking all over him! Seriously! That is the verse he uses?
The rest of Psalm 91 declares how, when we abide in the secret place (in prayer and obedience) the enemy had ZERO authority to touch us, harm us, or anything else. The enemy literally can do nothing but fall at our side.
Jesus must have rolled his eyes at satan when He answered – like seriously, are you stupid? Did the fall from heaven break your brain?

12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ 

In John chapter 1, John calls Jesus the word. In Ephesians, Paul calls the Word a Sword. And therefore here we see the Sword, use the Sword when in battle. Yep the Word, resorts to the Word when in need of a victory. Jesus spoke Jesus into the situation. 

13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.”

As these chapter are long, we cannot go line by line. As much as I wish. But I can still cover more than I was able to last year when we were reading a few chapters a day.

14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. 15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum,do also here in Your country.’ ” 24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

So, according to Luke, the first people Jesus tells that he is the fulfillment of messianic prophecy is the men and elders in His home town of Nazareth. And then insults them by saying they will not believe Him. Ironically they did not believe him – and even though it was true, they were offended.
Another thing that strikes me as noteworthy is that Just because you were a widow in Elijah’s time did not mean your flour and oil did not run dry. And Naaman was the only leper healed. Often we give our testimony and say, if God can do it for me, he can do it for you. And it edifies the body of believers. And it is true. But just because God can, doesn’t mean He will – and that is good, and God’s way. It kinda goes back to when God spoke to Job saying: you do not get it and you will NOT get it. You aren’t supposed to get it. Sometimes God does the same thing, sometimes different things and still other times God seems quiet and distant like he is doing no thing. (at which point I recommend pressing in to Him)

28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. 30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”

So they get so mad they create their own chaos in order to throw Jesus to His death and in the chaos… He just walks away. The lesson is to always walk away from chaos – they may be trying to throw you over a cliff.
Also, am I the only person picturing Him moonwalking out of there? I imagine a crowd all facing the same way and yelling and pressing and moving like a current. And Jesus is facing the right way, but he is doing the moonwalk dance from the 80’s and sliding in the opposite direction.

31 Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. 32 And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority. 33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, 34 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 
“Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. 36 Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” 37 And the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.”

When I was a child I wondered why all the demons declared Jesus is the Son of God. I heard a preacher once use that idea to say we need to be so filled with Jesus that demons can’t help but be forced to cry out that He is Lord. On the same hand, that answer never satisfied me, especially when you see how they reacted to the apostles. Then I heard a Baptist teacher say, they weren’t forced to tell the truth, they were spoiling Jesus’s plan. First Jesus was obviously NOT declaring Himself, so they did the opposite and once you hear a crazy demon say it, are you going to believe it? I mean, aren’t demons liars?
And that makes more sense.
If anyone says demons, sickness, evil, etc. are forced to melt away because of the presence of God, doesn’t know the Bible. They were created to BE IN the presence of God. They most certainly can handle it without some Hollywood contortions and drama. And IF the demon is performing for you, it is a performance – speak the word, the word is anointed and ALWAYS accomplishes that which it sets out to accomplish.
The demons like to perform and turn a quiet act of being cast out into a circus show – drawing a crowd. They love chaos.  But Jesus does not perform for entertainment.

38 Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. 39 So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.”

FYI – any red-hood wearing feminist need to wake up and realize the healed her; and DID NOT force her to immediately serve. Have you ever been in the house of a Jewish woman? My favorite places to visit are the home of my Jewish friends and my Italian friends. Every time you come visit, they feed you! And they are insulted if you do not eat or try to help. Let them serve you!
So this woman, woke up to a house full and no food on the table! Gasp!! That can’t be done! If you come to my house you must eat. It is not custom or duty or love – it is a neurosis!
I know firsthand, I too feed people. Eh!
My son used to call one of the shelves in our pantry the company’s food. Because when I shopped I got extra for when his friends came over or their moms came to pick them up. And we DID NOT touch that food unless we had company. Otherwise we’d eat it – and then have surprised company and nothing to offer them! Ah! I just couldn’t! Cheese, crackers, pickled salads, olives and summer sausages (charcuterie boards before they were popular – I am sorry) and for the kids, all their favorite snack cakes and crackers. 
My madness was so bad at Christmas I would by 3 or 4 boxes of chocolates more than I needed (usually giving all my friends a box of chocolates for Christmas). Then if I forgot someone or had surprise company or a plus one show up – I always had something for them too!
And I hope now that my son is an adult, he offers anyone who comes to visit, food.

40 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ.”

Matthew sets up the miracles, and the ones that happened on the Sabbath at the same time. Matthew also wrote to Jewish believers, who understood the ramifications of that.
Luke takes the time to establish Jesus as a healer and peaceful and not trying to cause a scene (even telling the demons to be quiet). Then later Luke will show how the tension builds between the Pharisees and Jesus. Even when the Nazarene Pharisees tried to throw Jesus over a cliff, Luke left off that they were the Pharisees. We will watch that tension build soon enough. Meanwhile, Luke is establishing the loving, caring, and peaceful side of Jesus.

42 Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; 43 but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” 44 And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.”

If the people were hungry then – how much more HUNGRY are they now.  When you share Jesus, there will be those who want to throw you from the cliff – but there will also be those who want more and are hungry.  If you are hungry, it is contagious like fire and will spread – then they will be hungry! Oh the goodness of being hungry!

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: