Luke 4: Jesus Overcomes Satan and Begins His Ministry

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 56–57


At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus fasted and prayed for forty days, After that time Satan came to tempt Him. Why? What did the devil hope to gain? Heavenly Father desires that all of His children enjoy “immortality and eternal life” (Moses 1:39). Satan desires that “all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27; see also v. 18). Essential to Heavenly Father’s plan for our salvation is a sinless Savior to pay the price for our sins. Satan was unsuccessful in his attempts to tempt Him to sin.Satan also opposes God’s servants. For example, he tried to tempt Moses (see Moses 1:12–22) and he attacked Joseph Smith (see Joseph Smith—History 1:15–17). Telling of his experience, the Prophet Joseph wrote, “It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me?” (Joseph Smith—History 1:20).Be sure to read the Joseph Smith Translation changes for Luke 4:4–5, 9.

Understanding the Scriptures

Luke 4

Pinnacle (v. 9)High point 
Dash (v. 11)Hit 
As his custom was (v. 16)As he usually did 
Anointed (v. 18)Chosen 
Bare him witness (v. 22)Heard what he said 
Heaven was shut up (v. 25)The skies were sealed so that no rain came 
Famine (v. 25)Lack of food 
Elias (v. 26)Elijah 
Lepers (v. 27)People suffering from a terrible skin disease 
Eliseus (v. 27)Elisha 
Wrath (v. 28)Anger 
Astonished (v. 32)Surprised, amazed 
Besought (v. 38)Begged 
Rebuked the fever (v. 39)Commanded the fever to leave 
Suffered them not (v. 41)Did not allow them 

Luke 4:16–30—Why Did the People of Jesus’ Hometown Try to Kill Him?

Christ teaching in the synagogue

The Jews in the synagogue in Nazareth understood that when Jesus said He fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that He was saying He was the Messiah. These people, however, knew Jesus when He was growing up. Their false ideas about what the Messiah would be and do made it difficult for them to believe that the person they knew was their Messiah. Even more, to falsely claim that you were the Messiah was blasphemy—which was punishable by death under the law of Moses. The people of Nazareth thought Jesus had committed blasphemy, and so they thought it was right to kill Him.

Studying the Scriptures

Do either activity A or B as you study Luke 4.

Activity A iconWhat Do Temptations Really Offer Us?

In Matthew 4:1–10 you studied how Satan tempted Jesus and identified how he tempts us in similar ways today. Speaking of that event, Elder David O. McKay, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “Nearly every temptation that comes to you and me comes in one of those forms. Classify them, and you will find that under one of those three nearly every given temptation that makes you and me spotted, ever so little maybe, comes to us as (1) a temptation of the appetite; (2) a yielding to the pride and fashion and vanity of those alienated from the things of God; or (3) a gratifying of the passion, or a desire for the riches of the world, or power among men” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1911, 59).

  1. 1.

    What do you think it means to “not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4)? We must eat to live, but compare the life of someone who gives into the temptation of the appetite to that of someone who lives as Jesus suggested.

  2. 2.

    What did Satan offer Jesus if He would worship him? (see Luke 4:5–8). Compare that to what God has promised (see D&C 76:50, 54–59; 84:37–38).

  3. 3.

    Satan tempted Jesus to prove who He was by putting Himself in danger and seeing if He would be saved in a miraculous way. If Jesus had done that, how would He have been tempting God (see Luke 4:12)? Satan knew that Jesus was the Son of God. Why do you think he tempted Jesus to prove something that he, Satan, already knew?

  4. 4.

    Suppose you have a friend or family member who is struggling with temptation. Using what you learned from Jesus’ temptations, write a paragraph to explain why Satan’s temptations are never as rewarding as our Heavenly Father’s promises are to the obedient.

Activity B iconOutline Jesus’ Mission

  1. 1.

    Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61:1–2, in which Isaiah prophesied what the Messiah would do as a part of His ministry. From Luke 4:18–19, list the six things that Isaiah prophesied Jesus would do.

  2. 2.

    Give at least two examples of how Jesus continues to fulfill this mission in the lives of individuals today.