I’ve recently written a few comments and spoken some on Luke 4, so I don’t feel the need to rehearse all that I’ve already said. But for the sake of clarity, let me say at least one thing again… Luke 4 is less about giving us instructions on how to deal with temptation, and way more about who this Jesus is.
One thing that I didn’t mention either in the message, nor very explicitly in the earlier post, is that Israel is sometimes spoken of as being God’s son (Hosea 11:1, Exodus 4:22, possibly Psalm 2:7). One might argue that connecting Jesus’ sonship to the sonship of Israel somehow lessens its force as it relates to our understanding of Jesus’ divinity. That is to say that when Israel was called “God’s son,” no one made the mistake of thinking Israel was divine. Why take the son language about Jesus to do so?
In response, I would argue that the connection between “Son of God” language used for Israel and Jesus doesn’t lessen our understanding of who Jesus is. Rather, it is enhanced. The remainder of the New Testament makes clear that Jesus’ is the Son of God in a way that no one ever has been or could be again. Jesus’ relationship with God the Father is unique. In fact, one can say fairly confidently that the point of Luke 4:1-13 is to say precisely that! Jesus is God’s son in a way that Israel never could be.
But Luke 4 probably isn’t speaking into the Jewish world only. As Luke’s gospel is taking shape, there are others in the Roman world that would make a rival claim to being the “son of God” and divinity. Various Roman emperors would refer to themselves in those terms, and require others to do the same. So it may well be that Luke is simultaneously addressing the Jewish and pagan worldviews of his day.
In essence, the message Luke is putting across in these first few chapters is “Jesus is God’s one and only true son.”
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