1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Then (v.1) — immediately after His baptism (Mark 1:12)
tempted (v.1) = put to the test
Scripture tells us definitely that He “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21); He “did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22); “in Him is no sin” (1 John 3:5). He could say, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me” (John 14:30). There was no lurking traitor within to answer to the voice of the enemy without. He was tempted as we are, sin apart (Hebrews 4:15, literal rendering), that is, there was no sin within to tempt Him. From the moment of His birth He was holy, not merely innocent (Luke 1:35). — Ironside, page 33.
Pentecost’s take on the temptation (below) is interesting. I’m not sure whether or not I agree. That Christ, under the control of the Spirit, didn’t shy away from it, is undeniable. Whether forty days was as long as Satan could afford to put it off, I’m not sure.
Since Christ was under the full control of the Spirit, and since the purpose of the temptation was to demonstrate His sinlessness and thus prove His moral right to be Savior-Sovereign, we must recognize that Jesus was the Aggressor in the temptation. He forced Satan to put Him to the test so that His true character might be revealed. (That explains why He spent forty days in the desert before the temptations began. Satan sought to escape the confrontation.) Had there been a longer delay, it would have been a concession that Jesus was the sinless One. — Pentecost, page 97
It is written (v.4) — Deuteronomy 8:3 — when Israel complained when hungry in the wilderness
In this temptation of Christ, Satan followed the well-established pattern of temptation revealed in the Garden of Eden and illustrated throughout Scripture. It is defined in 1 John 2:16 as being temptation along three lines: (1) the lust of the flesh; (2) the lust of the eyes; (3) the pride of life. The order of the temptation in 1 John 2:16 is the same as the serpent’s temptation of Eve in Genesis 3:6, where the fruit was (1) good for food, the lust of the flesh; (2) pleasant to the eyes, the lust of the eyes; (3) to be desired to make one wise, the pride of life. Luke 4:1-13 presents it in the same order as in Genesis and 1 John. Matthew chooses to present it in what was probably the actual historical order, with the offer of the kingdoms of the world last. — Walvoord, page 35.
Satan’s invitation was based on the sonship which the Father had acknowledged at Jesus’ baptism. The sonship of Christ carried with it the implication that the Son had certain rights and there was no reason why He could not exercise those rights to gratify His appetite and satisfy Himself. This suggests that man’s highest good comes from gratifying his desires and happiness comes from satisfying his fleshly appetites. The implication is that man is a physical being with physical appetites which are to be gratified; thus, man lives by bread alone.
This temptation was an attempt to pervert Jesus Christ from perfect obedience to the will of God. He was in the desert in the will of God, and therefore all that He endured while in the desert was part of God’s will for Him. To gratify His own desires would have been to abandon the will of God and substitute His own will, deeming that gratification of His appetite was more important than obedience to the will of God.
Now, what constituted this a temptation? Where lay its evil? Suppose Christ had commanded the stones to become bread, what then? To Christ, considering the work He had to do, two things were necessary. He had to live His personal life (1) within the limits necessary to man, and (2) in perfect dependence on God. Had He transgressed either of these conditions He had ceased to be man’s ideal Brother or God’s ideal Son. Man cannot create; he lives by obeying Nature. He has to plow, to sow, to reap, to garner and winnow, to bruise and bake his grain, that he may eat and live. Now, had Christ by a direct miracle fed Himself, He had lifted Himself out of the circle and system of humanity, had annulled the very terms of the nature which made Him one with man. While His supernatural power was His own, it existed not for Himself, but for us. The moment He had stooped to save self He had become disqualified to save men. The ideal human life must be perfect in its dependence on God, absolute in its obedience. The ideal Son could not act as if He had no Father. And so His choice was not to be His own Providence, but to leave Himself to the Divine. He conquered by faith, and His first victory was like His last. — Pentecost, pages 101-102.
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