Summary: Now Jesus is to be tempted by Satan. Could He have failed the test? No, He could not! If He could have fallen, then He would not be a sure Savior and God would not be sovereign.
Harmony of the Gospels
(2) Jesus Tempted
So far the gospels have shown us that the Son of God came down to the earth to be born a human. He had a normal childhood, except He never sinned. He was baptized to identify Himself with mankind. Now, He has come to the place where He is to be tempted. The word tempt has two meanings:
First: “Incite or entice to evil; seduce.” I was born with a fallen nature that came directly from Adam; therefore, I yield easily to sin. That was not true of Jesus. He did not have a fallen nature, because His father was not a man. John 14:30 says, “…..for the prince of this world cometh, and has nothing in me.” There was nothing in Jesus that Satan could take advantage of or use against Him. Hebrews 7:26, describes Jesus as “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” So the temptation of Jesus had to be different than what would make us fall; it needed to be much greater.
Second: “Test.” God will test men, He will not tempt us. James 1:13 says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”
Now Jesus is to be tempted by Satan. Could He have failed the test? No, He could not! If He could have fallen, then He would not be a sure Savior and God would not be sovereign. Some may ask, “Well if Jesus could not have fallen, was this temptation a legitimate test? It was a legitimate test and He was tempted more than anything you and I will ever experience in our lives. His testing can be compared to the test that is given to a diamond to make sure that it is genuine and not a phony. There is no way a real diamond will fail the test and there was no way Jesus could have failed the test either. He was the real thing. Jesus was tested to demonstrate that He was exactly who He claimed to be.
I will give into temptation, if it is great enough and if the pressure is maintained long enough, and you will too. But that is not the case with Jesus, He never gave in to temptation, even though Satan tempted Him far beyond anything that we will ever experience.
Let’s begin to look at the temptation as it is recorded in the first Gospel.
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. (Matthew 4:1)
This verse tells us several things. The Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness. He will be met by the Devil and the Devil is going to tempt Him. So the temptation was not a surprise to Jesus, but He had planned to confront the Devil.
And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward and hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. (Matthew 4:2-3)
I have only fasted a couple of times in my life and it was for a very short time. So it would be difficult for me to relate to what Jesus went through. It would take a tremendously strong will for Him to deny Himself food for 40 days and it would have had a terrible effect on His physical condition. Remember that Jesus was a man in the physical sense. He did not have any advantage over you and I in that respect. The temptation here is to His flesh. Will He choose to satisfy His hunger?
But he answered and said, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
Jesus’ reply is to quote scripture, “….. That he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
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, least at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Matthew 4:5-6)
Now the Devil is quoting scripture. He is quoting Psalm 91:11-12, and it is interesting that he knew that it applied to Jesus. Actually, he did not quote scripture; he misquoted it, because he left out the words, “in all thy ways.” The Devil evidentially changes scripture to suit his own purposes. Verse 11 reads, “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”