What does Luke 4:2 mean?
ESV: for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.
NIV: where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
NASB: for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He was hungry.
CSB: for forty days to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was hungry.
NLT: where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.
KJV: Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
NKJV: being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Luke 3:21–22). After this, He headed into the uninhabited regions near Judea. During this time, He fasted, for a total of forty days. Moses spent forty years in exile from Egypt before returning to lead the exodus (Acts 7:29–30). He then fasted on the mountain for forty days while waiting to receive God's law (Deuteronomy 9:9). Israel spent forty years wandering in punishment for disobedience (Numbers 14:34; 32:13). Jonah's preaching in Nineveh lasted forty days (Jonah 3:4).

Depending on how one translates this passage, it either implies that Jesus was tempted by Satan during the forty days, or that He was tempted at the end of that period. The latter view is more in keeping with Matthew's account (Matthew 4:2).

As one would expect, a nearly six-week-long fast would leave someone intensely hungry. Many forms of "fasting" involve merely abstaining from food for most of the day, eating only a small amount of simple food at a designated time. In this case, Jesus is said to have eaten nothing for the entire time. This is close to the maximum limit a person can survive without food, so long as they are drinking water. As one might expect, Jesus would end this experience in need of healing and recuperation (Matthew 4:11)
Verse Context:
Luke 4:1–13 describes Jesus' temptation by Satan. During forty days of fasting, the Devil entices Him using offers of comfort, power, and prestige. In each case, Jesus responds with Scripture and a commitment to God's will. This series of events is also recorded in Matthew 4:1–11 and Mark 1:12–13. While Matthew's account implies an explicit order for these temptations, Luke's does not.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus is taken into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. While fasting there, He is tempted by Satan. These temptations share an element of ignoring God in favor of what seems easier or quicker. Jesus resists all of these, citing Scripture as He does. When Jesus returns, He preaches and heals to great publicity in Judea and Galilee. While His hometown responds with stubborn skepticism, others are eager to hear His teaching and experience His miraculous power.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 3 explained how John the Baptist preached to prepare others to receive Jesus Christ. Luke then provided Jesus' earthly ancestry. Chapter 4 begins with Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. He returns to preach and perform healing miracles in Judea and Galilee. Chapter 5 shows Him calling disciples and demonstrating further proofs of His authority.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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