What does Luke 4:9 mean?
ESV: And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,
NIV: The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here.
NASB: And he brought Him into Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;
CSB: So he took him to Jerusalem, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here.
NLT: Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, 'If you are the Son of God, jump off!
KJV: And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
NKJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
In this temptation (Luke 4:1–8), Satan simultaneously challenges Jesus in two ways. The tallest spot of the temple in Jerusalem was about 15 stories above the plaza below. To the ground, it was possibly 30 stories—or about 90 meters. The act of throwing Himself from a height would "force" God to make good on His promises (Luke 4:10–11). Being in a public place, it would also be a dramatic, crowd-pleasing expression of power. That would clearly reveal Jesus as the Christ to all of Israel, and the world. As with the temptation to worship Satan in exchange for power, this would mean short-cutting God's plan.

Satan will also use a tactic employed by false teachers even today, which is the twisting of God's written Word. Jesus has been responding to Satan's attacks with references to Scripture. To enhance this temptation, Satan will directly quote from the Old Testament (Luke 4:10–11). Of course, his reference is deliberately taken out of context and misapplied. As is the case with material wealth and prosperity, misusing God's promises is a favorite tactic of evil.
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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