Jesus was Tempted by the Devil

by: Bill Bratt


Many people donít believe in Satan. They scoff at the idea that there is a real devil.

Jesus had many dealings with Satan the devil. He knew that Satan was the powerful ruler of demonical spirit forces.

Satan the Devil

Letís take a look at some of the character traits of Satan the devil.

Satan is the chief of the fallen spirits, and the adversary of God and man: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet 5:8).

Satan is known as the devil, the great dragon, serpent and the accuser of the brethren: "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. {10} Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down" (Rev 12:9-10).

Letís notice first that Satan has deceived the whole world. That is a staggering statement! Do you believe it?

Now letís notice the phrase "serpent of old". In Chapter 3 of Genesis is the story of Eve and her conversation with Satan who is the serpent: "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" {2} And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; {3} "but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" {4} Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die" (Gen 3:1-4).

Satan lied to Eve with the idea of the "immortal soul" that wouldnít die.

The Bible plainly reveals the soul that sins will die: ""The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son...." (Ezek 18:20).

The Apostle Paul confirms this point in his epistle to the Roman Church: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 6:23).

Satan is the god of this world: "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor 4:4 KJV).

Satan is the ruler of this world: ""Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out" (John 12:31).

He is also the prince of the power of the air: "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, {2} in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Eph 2:1-2).

Satan is the father of lies, a murderer and there is no truth in him: "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it" John 8:44-46 (NKJV).

Letís look at one more point: Satan, who had deceived the whole world, appears as an angel of light: "And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. {15} Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works" (2 Cor. 11:14-15).

From the previous scriptures, we see that Satan is a very powerful evil demonic spirit being who is an enemy, adversary, accuser, liar and a murderer.

Satan plotted to Kill Jesus

After Jesus was born, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem and inquired about the birth of the new King of the Jews. When Herod the king heard this news he inquired as to where this king was to be born. The chief priests and scribes told him that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem as written in the prophets. Herod cunningly told the wise men to let him know where the young child was so that he could go and worship him also.

The wise men continued to follow the star to where the young child was and they worship him and presented gifts to Him.

The wise men were divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod and so they departed for their own country another way.

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him." {14} When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, {15} and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son"" (Mat 2:13-15).

Herod was very angry when the wise men didnít return to him and reveal the location of the Christ child. Being inspired by Satan he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. God intervened and protected Jesus from the Satanic inspired plot to kill Him as an infant.

Jesus Tempted by the Devil

Approximately twenty-eight years pass and Jesus is now thirty years old and beginning His ministry (Luke 3:23). This was the age required by the Old Testament to which priests must attain before they could be installed as official ministers and preachers (Num. 4:3).

Jesus then goes to John the Baptist to be baptized in the Jordan River at Bethabara near the Sea of Galilee (John 1:28-34).

After Jesusí first recorded miracle of turning water into wine at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, He traveled down to Capernaum to be with His mother and family and His disciples. After a few days He then was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Letís read Matthew 4:1-11: "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. {2} And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. {3} Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." {4} But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" {5} Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, {6} and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'" {7} Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'" {8} Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. {9} And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me." {10} Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'" {11} Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him."

Now letís glean a few points from this passage.

It Is Written

The phrase "it is written" is used four times. Jesus was tempted by Satan three times and each time Jesus relied and trusted in the written word of God. Jesus put His faith in this "written document" which was the Old Testament scriptures. He trusted in what God said and promised in the scriptures.

The Bible is a legal document, a contract, an agreement between God and His people. God is bound to keep His word. Jesus had faith in the written word, and we must follow Jesusí example and we also must put our faith in the written word of God.

Our faith can grow like Jesusí faith. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17).

We need to "Read the Book" to know what God has said and has promised to do for us. We need to read and study so we can trust God just as Jesus did.

Jesus was Tempted

"The Greek word translated "tempt" or "test" has two meanings: (1) to test or prove (John 6:6, 2 Cor. 13:5, Heb. 11:17); and (2) to solicit to evil. The Holy Spirit tested or proved Christ. The devil sought to lure Him to do evil. (from Believerís Bible Commentary, Nelson ed., p. 1212).

The writer of the book of Hebrews records that Jesus is our High Priest and that He was tempted in all things yet without sin: "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb 4:15).

Jesus was God in the flesh, He gave up His divinity to tabernacle and dwell among men (John 1:1-3,14).

Jesus suffered in the flesh (1 Peter 4:1) and died for us (John 3:16).

The temptations of Jesus were real. He was human as He walked upon the earth. He had been humbling Himself before God by fasting for 40 days and 40 nights and He was hungry. Satan used food to tempt Jesus. In Matthew 4 verse 3, Satan questioned the ability for God to care for His Son. In verse 4, Jesus said that it is more important to live Godís way than to eat.

In verse 6, Satan quotes this out of context from Psalms 91. Satan knows scripture but he knows how to twist it. You can not put yourself in a precarious situation and expect God to bail you out.

In verse 9, Satan is saying to Jesus that if He recognizes his authority Jesus could become King immediately, 2,000 years earlier than as per Godís plan. In the millennial Kingdom Age, Jesus will be King of kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 17:14, 19:16).

In verse 11, Jesus resisted the Devil and the Devil left Him as He commanded. Jesus showed the Devil that He had the power over him.

Now Jesus was ready to proceed with His public ministry.

What Can We Learn From This?

The Apostle James says that we are to have joy when we fall into trials. "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, {3} knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience" (James 1:2-3).

The Apostle Peter said that your faith when tested is more precious that gold that perishes (1 Pet 1:7).

We must resist the Devil as Jesus did: "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. {8} Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." (James 4:7-8).

In Conclusion: Satan is a very powerful evil demonic spirit being who is our enemy, adversary, accuser and our tempter. We need to follow the example of Jesus and draw close to God so He will draw close to us. Be repentant, humble and maintain your contact with God through your prayer and your Bible study.