THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS
“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and immediately was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”1
God Himself is never the agent of temptation but here—as in the book of Job—God uses even satanic tempting to serve His sovereign purposes. Jesus confronted Satan and took the first step toward overthrowing his evil kingdom. Christ was tempted in all points; Satan tempted Him with ‘the lust of the flesh’ (Matt. 4:2-3); ’the lust of the eyes’ (Matt. 4:8-9); ‘and the pride of life’ (Matt. 4:5-6).2
“The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ was tempted in every respect as we are.”3
“[P]resenting Himself for baptism, Jesus fulfilled righteousness. When He later allowed Himself to be driven into the wilderness to be tempted, it was so that His righteousness could be tried.”4
God withdrew from His Son the consciousness of His presence, and Jesus was exposed to all the forces of hell. All the religious questions Satan is capable of suggesting were thrown at our Lord and Saviour. The temptation of Jesus would not have been real had it not contained the possibility of failure.5
He could not in any way seek to use His powers to prevent His facing up to the Father’s will and the world’s sufferings. His powers must not be used simply for Himself. They were a trust from God, not a personal power bank. They must be used only in accordance with His direction.6
We should note the use which our Lord made of Scripture: in his hour of trial he did not look to visions and voices and special revelation for guidance, but used the written Word. [I]n the conflict of temptation he did not defend himself by his own divine wisdom, but used that wisdom which God had revealed to all Israel through his prophets. Jesus fought as a man and used that weapon given to man. Jesus used the Scripture as authority. Jesus permitted Satan neither to question nor pervert the Scripture.7
“The human task of thinking about God on the basis of his Word is the place where God ‘grants understanding.’ It is a gift. (Prov 2:2-6).”8
It is the book of the world, because He inspired it who formed the world,—who made all nations of one blood,—and knows man’s common nature. It is the book for every heart, because He dictated it who alone knows all hearts, and what all hearts require. It is the book of God.9
(12) JESUS Tempted
1. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 74.
3. Bob Mumford, The Purpose of Temptation (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1973) 106.
4. Mumford, 107-108.
5. Mumford, 106.
6. Peter Pett, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 2013, Peter Pett’s Commentary on the Bible, 3 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pet/matthew-4.html.
7. J.W. McGarvey and Phillip Y. Pendleton, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 1914, The Fourfold Gospel, 3 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/4-4.html#verse-tfg.
8. John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1991, 2000) 285.
9. J.C. Ryle, Foundations of Faith (South Plainfield, NJ: Bridge Publishing, Inc., 1987) 13.
10. “. . . the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’” Matthew 4:8-9 ESV.
11. Kenneth Baker, ed., The NIV Study Bible, Luke 2:42, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995) 1442.
12. Bob Mumford, The Purpose of Temptation (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1973) 115-116.
13. “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool . . . ” (Proverbs 28:26 ESV).
14. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 1871-8, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible – Unabridged, 3 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/4-4.html#verse-jfu.
15. Paul E. Kretzmann, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 1921-23, Kretzmann’s Popular Commentary, 3 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/4-4.html#verse-kpc.
16. William Burkitt, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 1700-03, Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament, 3 February 3 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/4-4.html#verse-wbc.
17. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (NY, NY: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1935, Fifty-fifth printing) 261.
18. Albert Barnes, “Commentary on Matthew 4:4,” 1870, Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible, 3 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/4-4.html#verse-bnb.