Bible Question:

In Luke 4 after the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came. When was the next opportunity? Where in the Bible can I find it?

Bible Answer:

Luke 4:13 records the last verse of the account that describes Satan’s temptation of Jesus. Satan tempted Jesus three times and each time Jesus refused to sin. Each time Jesus quoted scripture to Satan, not as a magic incantation, but as a reminder to Satan that his conduct was sin. When Satan was finished, we read that he left, not forever, but to try again at a later time – an opportune time.

When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. (NASB) Luke 4:13

The phrase “opportune time” is a good translation of the Greek text. There is nothing more to be learned from the Greek. But the message is simple. The devil left Jesus and planned to return sometime later. We can only assume that the devil returned when he thought that he might achieve some victory over Jesus. The scriptures never record another direct assault on Jesus Christ. That is, we cannot find the devil directly speaking to Jesus again.

However, the gospels do tell us that the devil attempted to undermine Jesus’ plans by causing people to doubt what Jesus was speaking. That is, the devil attacked Jesus’ words. The following three passages about the sower who sowed seed beside the road were taken from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Notice that all three passages refer to the same enemy and describe how the devil wages war against Jesus.

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. (NASB) Matthew 13:19

These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. (NASB) Mark 4:15

Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. (NASB) Luke 8:12

Matthew tells us that the “evil one” snatches away the word, the good news about Jesus. Mark says that Satan is the one who takes away the word, and Luke states that it is the devil. That is, the “evil one” is Satan who is also called the devil. All three names refer to the same person. All three passages reveal that Satan does not want people to believe the Bible – to believe God! He seeks to motivate people to doubt what they hear, doubt that Jesus performed miracles, doubt the biblical prophecies, doubt that Jesus died for their sins, returned to life, and ascended back to heaven. In fact, Satan wants people to doubt that he himself is real. That is the ultimate deception! Then he is able to operate with freedom.

Satan also attacked Jesus through the Jewish religious leaders. Probably the most obvious passage is found in Matthew 12:22-30 where the religious leaders accused Jesus of performing exorcisms in cooperation with Beelzebul or Satan.

But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” Matt. 12:24

Did Satan motivate them them to do this? We cannot be dogmatic but it would be consistent with his methods for he functions as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14 ). He disguises himself as one who speaks truth.

Satan also attacked Jesus through Jesus’ own disciples. The first example is where Satan spoke through Peter.

From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (NASB) Matthew 16:21-23

Peter was not demon possessed, but he was influenced by Satan to speak those words. The second major example is Judas Iscariot. He was actually possessed by Satan before he did his evil. We read in Luke 22:1-6 that just before Jesus celebrated the Passover Seder with the twelve disciples that Satan entered Judas and agreed to betray Jesus to the Jewish leaders.

And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. They were glad and agreed to give him money. (NASB) Luke 22:3-5

Conclusion:

Satan will use any method that he can to motivate people to reject God. He does not care about us. He is motivated by hatred of God. He wanted to be God. If you have not already done so read “Angels – Good and Evil,” “Filled With The Spirit” and “Temptation of Jesus.” May the Lord bless you.

Reference Links:

Angels - Good and Evil
Filled With The Spirit
Temptation of Jesus