Ask the group to respond to the question, “Who has made a resolution for the year 2020?” After a showing of hands, ask those who responded positively why they are making a resolution, then ask those who did not raise a hand why they are not making a resolution. Discuss the motivations behind the choices and how each may step out in faith this year.
1. Read Luke 4:1-13. A. How did Jesus respond to each of Satan's temptations? B. How did Satan change his strategy on his third temptation? C. What does this say about Satan's methods?
(Intent: A. Jesus responded to the three temptations by quoting Deut. 8:3, Deut. 6:13, and Deut. 6:16, respectively. He responded from the word of God, and specifically from the Law. B. It appears that Satan, in the same pride that resulted in his fall, attempted to outwit Jesus by also quoting Scripture from Ps. 91:11-12. But, as with the other temptations, his appeal was still to human nature. Jesus’ response to the third temptation was again from the Law, affirming the word of God, and importantly, His commitment to fulfill the Law.)
2. Pick a temptation that you experience repeatedly. How do you respond to it?
(Intent: Temptations should be dealt with through obedience to the word of God. When temptation comes from the satanic realm, we like Jesus should respond with the word of God spoken out loud (Greek Rhema). Jesus was obedient in His call to fulfill the Law; we are dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus’ shed blood. Our strength is not in the Law or method, but in the power of the Spirit.)
3. Luke 4:1-13 is the beginning of Jesus earthly ministry. A. Why do you suppose that the Lord chose to test Him at this time? B. Recall a time when you were tested. How did the Lord use that in your life for good?
4. Read Lk. 4:14-21 and refer to Isaiah 61. A. When quoting Isaiah 61, why does Jesus stop at verse 2a? B. When will Isaiah 61:2b-9 be fulfilled?
(Intent: This prophecy is fulfilled in phases. Is. 61:1-2a is proclamation at Christ’s first coming; v. 2b is judgement at the second coming; vv. 3-9 is glorification of Israel at the Millennium, according to commentator T. Constable.
5. Read Lk. 4:22b-24. Think of someone you are so familiar with that you sometimes discount what they say. How might you assess whether you should take them more seriously?
(Intent: Do we assess people and events through filtering, intuition, their history, what others may have said – in all of which our flesh can lead us astray – or do we assess them by the Spirit of grace?)
6. Read Lk. 4:22-28. In verse 22a, “All spoke well of him…” yet in verse 28, “all the people were furious.” A. What happened in between these verses that moved the people to fury? B. Why did Jesus choose to “poke the bear” by recounting accounts from Old Testament prophets that were unfavorable to the Jews?
(Intent: See Lk. 6:26 “Woe to you when all men speak well of you…” Jesus sees hearts. Nazareth was his hometown of 200-500 people, so they knew each other. Jesus’ likely intent was to reveal their hearts to them.)
7. Read Lk. 4:28-30. What does this say about the nature of Jesus and His mission?
(Intent: He speaks the truth even when people may be offended. Perhaps His walking through the crowd points to His divinity and control; it was not yet His time to suffer and die. This event shows that the Father's plan cannot be thwarted.)
8. When Jesus cast out the demon in Lk. 4:33-37, why did He tell the demon to be quiet even though he spoke the truth? Also see v. 41.
(Intent: Among possible answers are that Jesus did not want testimony, even if true, from demons. We are to confess Jesus by faith. Also, the Jews were looking for an exclusively political and national Messiah. Public proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah at this point may have precipitated a revolution against Rome. See also Luke 9:18-22 where he warned the disciples to tell no one who he was, prefacing that command with “Who do you say that I am?”)
9. Is there a way you can better respond to the temptation you thought of in discussion question 2 after hearing from the group?
10. Refer to discussion questions 6 and 7. Think of a situation where you need to "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). How can you do this?
Ask the Lord to guide you so that you may respond by the power of the Holy Spirit in all things. In temptations, to boldly follow the word of God, speaking it when appropriate; in people’s praises, may we respond in truth and glorify God.