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Relevant Passages: Matthew 1, 3-4; Luke 4

Leading Question: Why are the accounts of Jesus’ temptations not in the same order in Matthew and Luke?

Our leading question is one that the official study guide doesn’t even mention, namely, that Matthew and Luke do not shape their stories of the temptation in the same way. Matthew’s final temptation is to accept Satan’s offer of the whole world to Jesus if he would fall down and worship him, whereas Luke finishes with the temptation to jump from the temple pinnacle.

Question: Is this question significant enough to raise? Or significant enough to avoid?

Note: In 1983, Pacific Press published a little book by George Rice, Luke, a Plagiarist? Most likely it never would have appeared if it hadn’t been for the furor over Ellen White’s use of sources. In it, he develops an argument for what he calls the “Lucan model” of authorship, over against the “prophetic model.” Significantly for 1983, Pacific Press, the publisher of the book makes this disclaimer in the book’s front matter:

“The purpose of this book is to investigate a concept of inspiration not generally held by most Seventh-day Adventists. Although the publisher believes that this book will stimulate a constructive study of this subject, this book does not represent an official pronouncement of the Seventh-day Adventist Church nor does it necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Pacific Press Publishing Association.” – p. (4)

Rice argues that the order of the temptations is crucial to each author’s purpose: Matthew finishes with the world-wide offer because his purpose focuses on the establishment of the Kingdom of God; Luke puts the temple challenge last because his focus is on the release from Satan’s power and dominion (p. 36).

Question: What difference do Rice’s suggestions make for the study, understanding, and application of the three temptations?

Question: Looked at from the perspective of the conflict between God and Satan, what do each of the three temptations tell us, regardless of their particular order in Matthew 4 and Luke 4?

Stones into bread

Casting oneself down from the temple

Worshiping Satan in order to receive back the dominion over the world

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