In the gospel bearing his name, Luke, “having followed all things closely for some time past,” undertakes “to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:3-4).
Luke is a doctor and very detailed in his account. He is also a Gentile, and he emphasizes the availability of the gospel to everyone.
Luke begins before Jesus’ birth with the prediction of John the Baptist’s birth. Luke progresses the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would bear the long-awaited Messiah, the well-known Christmas story, Jesus’ ministry and teaching, death, burial, resurrection and ascension.
Because the book of Luke is so full, Warren Wiersbe divided up his commentary on Luke into two books. The first is Be Compassionate (Luke 1-13): Let the World Know Jesus Cares.
Wiersbe says Luke’s “key message is, ‘For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost’ (Luke 19: 10). He presents Jesus Christ as the compassionate Son of Man, who came to live among sinners, love them, help them, and die for them” (p. 16).
In the passage about Jesus’ temptation, Wiersbe says:
Satan questioned the Father’s love when he tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread. He questioned His hope when he offered Jesus the world’s kingdoms this side of the cross (see Heb. 12: 1–3). Satan questioned the Father’s faithfulness when he asked Jesus to jump from the temple and prove that the Father would keep His promise (Ps. 91: 11–12). Thus, the enemy attacked the three basic virtues of the Christian life—faith, hope, and love (p. 52).
I’ve often heard that this passage shows Satan tempting Jesus with “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” that 1 John 2:16 describes. I think that’s true as well as Wiersbe’s viewpoint.
In response to Jesus answering Satan’s temptation with Scripture, Wiersbe says:
Jesus balanced Scripture with Scripture to get the total expression of God’s will. If you isolate verses from their contexts, or passages from the total revelation of Scripture, you can prove almost anything from the Bible. Almost every false cult claims to be based on the teachings of the Bible (p. 53).
Some of the other quotes that stood out to me:
It was our Lord’s custom to attend public worship, a custom His followers should imitate today (Heb. 10: 24–25). He might have argued that the “religious system” was corrupt, or that He didn’t need the instruction, but instead, He made His way on the Sabbath to the place of prayer (p. 54).
Jesus was not teaching that poverty, hunger, persecution, and tears were blessings in themselves. If that were true, He would never have done all He did to alleviate the sufferings of others. Rather, Jesus was describing the inner attitudes we must have if we are to experience the blessedness of the Christian life (p. 80).
Life is built on character, and character is built on decisions. But decisions are based on values, and values must be accepted by faith (p. 81).
There is a difference between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is a matter of the mind: We cannot understand what God is doing or why He is doing it. Unbelief is a matter of the will: We refuse to believe God’s Word and obey what He tells us to do. “Doubt is not always a sign that a man is wrong,” said Oswald Chambers. “It may be a sign that he is thinking.” In John’s case, his inquiry was not born of willful unbelief, but of doubt nourished by physical and emotional strain (p. 93).
There are many people today who criticize the church for not “changing the world” and solving the economic, political, and social problems of society. What they forget is that God changes His world by changing individual people. History shows that the church has often led the way in humanitarian service and reform, but the church’s main job is to bring lost sinners to the Savior. Everything else is a by-product of that. Proclaiming the gospel must always be the church’s first priority (p. 94).
Power is the ability to accomplish a task, and authority is the right to do it, and Jesus gave both to His apostles (p. 117).
It is impossible to be wrong about Jesus and right with God (p. 121).
We must first say no to ourselves—not simply to pleasures or possessions, but to self—and then take up our cross and follow Christ daily. This means to be identified with Him in surrender, suffering, and sacrifice (p. 122).
[After the transfiguration] As wonderful as these experiences are, they are not the basis for a consistent Christian life. That can come only through the Word of God. Experiences come and go, but the Word remains. Our recollection of past experiences will fade, but God’s Word never changes. The farther we get from these events, the less impact they make on our lives. That was why the Father said, “Hear him!” and why Peter made this same emphasis on the Word in his report (2 Peter 1: 12–21). Our own personal “transfiguration” comes from inner renewal (Rom. 12: 1–2), and that comes from the Word (2 Cor. 3: 18) (pp. 125-126).
I appreciate Dr. Wiersbe’s insights and commentary on the Scriptures.