Jesus and Deuteronomy

When Jesus is tempted by the Devil in the wilderness in Luke 4, he quote scripture to the Father of Lies. Fascinatingly, he quotes Deuteronomy every single time. Jesus references Deut 8:3, 6:13, 6:16. The Devil quotes Ps 91:11-12. To me, it illustrates the centrality of Deuteronomy for first century Judaism, but it also shows that Jesus and the early apostles shared this mentality. Deuteronomy was to them the linch-pin of the Old Testament. For us, I think it is easy to overlook the importance of Deuteronomy. There’s a lot of controversy in the biblical academy about the origin of Deuteronomy, especially regarding the date of its writing. Regardless of what position you adopt on the dating issue, it is widely known that Deuteronomy was the central text for Jews after the Exile. The ate, drank and breathed Deuteronomy. We Christians often overlook this key book. But Jesus’ very own words point us back to it. May Deuteronomy be more widely studied and learned (and maybe even quoted to the Devil)!

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