Temptation and Test
(Luke 4:1-13)

  • In the Bible, "temptation" and "test" are the same words (Hebrew--Massah, Greek-peirasmo, mean trial). Temptation is a test to strengthen or corrupt spirituality (James 1:12-15).

  • God "masssh" people (Matt 15:26-27; I Peter 1:7), but the test from God is limited to the extent within human tolerance (I Cor. 10:13).

  • All synoptic Gospels mention the temptation of Christ (Matt 4:1-11; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:1-13). All place the temptation within the same sequence, following Jesus's baptism by John, and preceding the first statement of Jesus' preaching of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:14-15, 43).

  • Mark has the briefest description. The wilderness is the place of demons and terrifying animals. Mark 1:13 thus presents Christ as the supporter of God's fight against satanic forces, who invades the stronghold of the enemy and thus overcomes him (Isa. 11:6-9, 65:25; Mark 3:27).

  • Matthew and Luke differ in the order of the second and third temptations and in some details. Luke's sequence of the scenes can be explained by his tendency to emphasize the crucial role of Jerusalem. It is probable that Matthew preserves the more original order and wording.

  • Jesus was the second Adam who restores paradise. The two Adams contrasted:

    I John 2:16 Genesis 3:6 (First Adam) Luke 4:1-13 (2 nd Adam)
    the lust of flesh the tree was good for food command this stone to be bread
    the lust of eyes it was pleasant to the eyes showed Him all the kingdom
    the pride of life a tree desirable to make one wise throw yourself down here (power)

  • Each temptation also leads Jesus to fulfill the popular conception of Messiah:

    Expected messiah Meaning according to OT Luke 4:1-13
    prophetic messiah Moses in the wilderness. Prophets (e.g. Elijah) provided food by miracles command this stone to be bread
    political messiah world dominion offered on the mountain showed Him all the kingdom
    priestly messiah the Temple as center of the priestly office throw yourself down here (power)

  • The devil failed to tempt Jesus and left Him until an opportune came. The next opportune was used by Satan through Jesus's disciple Peter (Matt. 16:23).