Read: Matthew 4:1-4
The story of Jesus’ temptation is a familiar one. Its details are recorded in Matthew 4:1–11 and Luke 4:1–13. In summary, the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the desert where he fasted for forty days before being tempted by Satan. But even in his physically weakened state, Jesus remained spiritually and mentally powerful. Despite his hunger, he refused to use his divine power to satisfy his needs. Despite his authority, he refused to prove himself by flaunting his privilege. And despite his goal of conquering the world for the Father, he refused to take the easy but sinful path of serving God’s enemy.
Many theologians also point out that Jesus’ temptation by Satan paralleled the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. As Paul pointed out in Romans 5:12–19, Jesus was the representative of his people, just as Adam had been. But whereas Adam failed and brought condemnation on the whole human race, Jesus overcame temptation, bringing salvation to his people.
Jesus was tempted. He was tempted in every point … as we are, yet without sin, the Bible says. One thinks, of course, of the event known as the temptation, or the temptations, in the wilderness, the threefold temptation following his baptism at the very outset of his public ministry where he encountered the Devil himself. Most of us probably never encounter the Devil — one of his interns will be fine for us — but for Jesus, Satan has to come in person. But the whole of Jesus’ life was one of temptation. I think it would be a mistake to think that he was only tempted at that point. I think those temptations were massive in their proportion and very specifically focused as to his identity and mission. But during the whole course of his life, I think Jesus was tempted. The point, I think, is that Jesus is our representative. He is our substitute. He is the last Adam, the second man, and therefore, as Adam was tempted in the garden, so the last Adam, too, must be tempted by the serpent. If he is to represent us, he must be tempted in every way like we are tempted. Otherwise, he is not our substitute. Scripture is very clear that at no point in the course of his ministry did Jesus fall into sin. He was sinless. He was without sin in thought, in word, in deed. But I think it is for the purposes of being our sin-bearer, being our substitute, that it was necessary for him to be tempted.
— Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas
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