If we take a close look at the three temptations of Jesus, we see that there is really just one temptation. They are not about food, authority, or protection, but rather all are attempts at getting Jesus to doubt God and break the fellowship and relationship He has with His Father. Luke 4:3-12 says:
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,“‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Satan is telling Jesus that God has abandoned Him and He can take better care of Himself than God can. Jesus was told to create food for Himself to cause Him to doubt God’s goodness and promises. The second temptation is an attempt to get Jesus to seize power on His own apart from God. Satan is offering the same thing God has promised, except without any pain, suffering, or death. This certainly would be an easier route to take, but it would cost Jesus everything by sinning. The third and final recorded temptation is to doubt God’s care and trust. Satan takes Jesus to the top of the temple in Jerusalem. If He did this Jesus would in effect be saying, “‘I do not think you will take care of me as Son, so to be sure I am going to place you in a situation where you must take care of my now and on my terms.’”1
Jesus sees the trickery and chooses to obey and trust God. Darrell Bock says “The ‘word of God’ by which people are ultimately to live is even more fundamental than the provision of food…Life is defined as doing God’s will and walking in God’s way, even if it entails suffering and self-denial.”2 As we can see, there is a lot more to the temptation of Jesus than one might see at first. Bock continues to comment on the temptation by saying, “[the] issues of Jesus’ faith, focus, and loyalty were at the center of the tests,”3 yet Jesus proved to be completely faithful and devoted to His Father. Applying this to our lives, if Satan tempted Jesus’ faith to try to get Him to turn His back on God, how much more does Satan tempt us with the same thing? I would argue, that every temptation is to test our faith, focus, and loyalty to God but is manifested in different ways. 1 Peter 5 says that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. So, if Satan if ferociously seeking to get us to break and loose our fellowship with God, how important is it for us to keep that fellowship? Of the utmost. We must get into His Word and kneel in prayer to fight temptation. So pick up your Bible, read and study the Word to become a godly and holy child of God.
- Darrell L. Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary On the New Testament, vol. 3, Luke (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, ©1994-©19), 381.
- Ibid, 374.
- Ibid, 383-4.