Satan Trying Jesus' Faith in the WildernessVolume 3, Number 6
Created Date: August 13, 2008
Posted Date: August 13, 2008
The faith of Jesus: Satan's testing in the Wilderness - Part 3:
The Gospel of Matthew (4:1 - 10) records three specific temptations of Jesus, as does the Gospel of Luke (4:1 - 12). The temptations in Matthew are similar to those recorded by Luke but there are differences in the circumstances, the words used to describe them and the order in which they appear in the two Gospels. We will address a possible explanation for these differences after we finish reviewing them.
Our last study examined the Devil's first recorded temptation of Jesus in Matthew and Luke: "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.". In , the Devil is quoted as saying "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. Jesus' response as recorded in both Gospels was a quote from the last part of : "man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." and .
In today's study we observe that the second temptation of Jesus as recorded by Matthew is similar to the third temptation recorded by Luke. Jesus used the same passage from God's Word to answer in both passages so we will address both. Matthew records the second temptation: "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.". Luke records the third temptation: "And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." .
The Devil quoted loosely from, which actually reads: "For He shall give His angels charge over thee, To keep thee in all they ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, Lest thou dash they foot against a stone." In quoting this passage Satan omitted the essential words "to keep Thee in all Thy ways," as recorded by both Matthew and Luke. He also added the three words "at any time," as recorded by Luke. Simply put, the "ways" of Jesus are not the "ways" of Satan and Jesus' "ways" would not be to follow Satan's advise so Satan left out this phrase in his quote. And of course Satan did not mention the verse that follows in Psalms because it speaks of his own demise: "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: The young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet." . This prophecy is that Jesus Christ will someday trample Satan under His feet.
Jesus answer is the same in both Matthew and Luke: "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."& . Here He quotes from : "Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as he tempted Him in Massah." In order to understand all this we need to find out what happened in Massah and we find this is the place where the children of Israel tried God, : "And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, "Is the Lord among us, or not?" The context of this verse in Exodus is the occasion in the wilderness when the Israelites complained loudly to Moses that they were thirsty and needed water. It came to the point where they were about to stone Moses to death. The Lord responded by directing Moses to strike the rock in Horeb, from which water issued forth, , and the Children of Israel drank there from.
With this background information we understand that Satan's motive in the second temptation recorded by Matthew and the third recorded by Luke was an attempt on the life of the man Jesus as well as his questioning whether Jesus was in fact "the Lord among us, or not." Of course Jesus withstood this temptation. He stood on the Word of God in which His faith rested for Satan could not take his life as a man and Jesus indeed proved Himself "the Lord among us."
Today, Jesus is no longer a man here on earth because after His death, burial, resurrection and ascension into heaven He became the Lord Jesus Christ. But Satan continues to pervert and blind the understanding of most of humanity to where the majority of people do not believe that Jesus was indeed both God and Man when He was here on earth. And they don't believe He now lives in the Heavenlies seated on the right hand of God as the Lord Jesus Christ. They either cannot understand how this can be or they simply choose not to believe the Word of God, which clearly states: "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.". "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." . "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." .