Summary: The importance of this narrative to the individual Christian is quite clear. Christ being the example for the church today, we as the body should exemplify similar characteristics. We need to be people of the Spirit, people of the Word and people of the
This is a powerfully written story, where Matthew creates an atmosphere of suspense, irony, artistry, and realism. It is an ideal romantic narrative, which unfolds in the center of a character foil and temptation plot motif as its primary literary construction.
The suspense unfolds when the Devil comes to Jesus, "the Son of God," in the desert and tempts Christ three times to sin (what’s going to happen in the desert). This is also seem at the point of each temptation (what is Christ going to choose). There is also suspense in the reaction of the Devil (how is he going to respond to Christ answers).
There is a dramatic irony that is displayed here in that the readers know that the devil is already defeated because of the resurrection. It’s ironic that Satan would tempt Christ to make the stones into bread because on in Jesus’ ministry He feeds the thousands with seven loafs of bread and five fishes. It is ironic that Satan (the epitome of evil) takes Christ (the epitome of good) to the highest place (archetypally ideal) to tempt Him the second time. It is equally ironic that Satan attempts to uses and twist the Word of God as an authoritative resource. It’s ironic that in Gensis Adam was tepmted in and fell prey to it in paradise and Christ was tempted and had victory the desert and by dying on a filthy cross.
Matthew arranges his material in unity, repetition and with nice mixture of variety. There are three temptations and Christ responds Scripturally to all of them; yet one of the temptations does not include Scripture. The symmetry presents a pattern that underlines each temptation. Satan tempts then Jesus responds. This occurs emphatically three times throughout this discourse. The character foil is clearly seen with Jesus (the epitome of good) and Satan (the epitome of evil) clashes head to head in single combat (spiritually).
It all starts to unfolds when Jesus was lead (Luke used "thrusted") by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. It is interesting to note that the desert was always associated with demonic activity (Is. 13:21; 34:14; Matt. 12:43; Rev. 18:2). The story of the temptations takes place in summer or autumn of A.D. 29 in the wilderness of Judah. Christ was just inaugurated by the Holy Spirit to preach the good news (Carl,Laney J.). Considering that the author, Matthew, who was Jewish is writing to Jews about a Jew (Jesus) it is interesting how he artistically composes this story. It was important to the Jewish audience that Jesus not only fought Satan face to face but also won, because in the Jewish mind set the only one that is able to fight Satan face to face and win was the Messiah. Proving Jesus Messiahship is the reoccurring motif in the book of Matthew. Another important thing to keep in mind is that Jesus was raised a Jew. He, too, memorized the Scriptures along with the rest of society. It is interesting to note that Christ did not begin His ministry until after the Spirit came upon Him. The battle against Satan did not transpire until after the descent of the Spirit. The Bible gives no account of Jesus ever preaching or teaching the Word of God until after the Spirit’s enpowerment/enlightenment.