The humanity of Jesus Christ is clearly seen throughout the gospel accounts. As a man Jesus experienced times of grief, hunger, fatigue, and difficulty. As a man he wept openly and confessed that his soul was exceedingly troubled. However, it is also clear from the gospel accounts that although Jesus was indeed a man, he was not just an ordinary man. Jesus Christ is identified as the virgin born, Son of God, who through his impeccability became the Savior of spiritually lost, sinful humanity.
Jesus did not inherit a sin nature from an earthly father. Had Jesus been the physical son of Joseph he would have inherited the same bloodline and the same sin nature from his earthly father as did the rest of humanity. However, Jesus’ real father was God the Father and there was no sinful nature present in God for Jesus to inherit.
It has been speculated that the wilderness temptation of Jesus was placed in the Gospels to correspond to the disputes between Jesus and the Jewish leaders. However, the temptation of Jesus most certainly stands as a unique account of his perfect obedience to the will of God the Father, his complete sinless nature and the impeccability of his life.
The historical context of Jesus’ temptation experience occurs between his baptism and the advent of his public ministry. This is significant for at least two reasons. First, it implies that Satan wanted to counteract the proclamation of God being well pleased in His beloved son, Jesus Christ. Secondly, it suggests that Jesus must endure certain temptations in order to fulfill his ministry and qualify to become the substitute for the sins of the world.
At the end of Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit directed him into the wilderness, a place of loneliness and isolation. The wilderness would have been a familiar place to Jesus. It was in the wilderness that the people of Israel experienced great trials and difficulty. The Israelites had failed God miserably in their wilderness experiences, but Jesus demonstrated victory as he went through his wilderness.
Jesus had been fasting for 40 days and nights when the devil appeared to him. As a result of his fasting, Jesus was physically hungry and weak. Therefore, the devil took advantage of the opportunity to tempt Jesus to create food for himself by turning stones into bread. As the Son of God, Jesus certainly had the power to turn the stones into bread. After all, Jesus was the agent of creation. However, because of his sinless nature and the impeccability of his life, Jesus refused to use his power and succumb to the temptations that Satan placed before him. Yet, another identifying mark of the Sinless Savior!
The second temptation took place on the pinnacle of the temple in the holy city of Jerusalem. The Scripture states that the Devil took Jesus and set him down on the pinnacle. The pinnacle was mostly likely the roof that stretched out over the portico of the temple, a spot that was reported to have had a four hundred and fifty foot drop.
Jesus was tempted to cast himself off the temple complex, presupposing that the Father would send his angels to catch him. Satan added intensity to this temptation by quoting scripture to support his enticement. Satan actually cited Psalm ninety-one where the Lord promised angelic protection for his people. However, this promise from God did not grant anyone the right to presume on His goodness. Jesus would not intentionally place himself in harm’s way in order to make God prove his preservation and protection. Jesus responded with another appropriate reference from Scripture that one should not tempt the Lord God.
Satan’s attempt to get Jesus to turn the stones into bread failed, as did his attempt to get Jesus to presume on the grace of God. Therefore, the ultimate temptation would come as Satan took Jesus up on a high mountain and flaunted the glory of the kingdoms of the world. Satan assumed that the majesty of world kingdoms would impress Jesus, so he extended to him worldly power, wealth, and position. There was one extraordinary condition; in order for Jesus to realize control over the kingdoms of the world it would be necessary for him to fall down and worship Satan.
If Jesus had possessed the sinful nature of man the temptations may have proven to be too much for him to endure. However, because of the impeccability of his life Christ proved to be the sinless Savior and could not and would not give in to Satan’s schemes. Jesus’ reaction to the third temptation was out of a heart of perfect obedience to his Father. Jesus utilized the authority he possessed to send Satan away and once again referenced Scripture reinforcing the fact that God alone is the only one to be worshipped.
The conclusion to Jesus’ wilderness temptation was the defeat of Satan. The human nature of Christ submitted to the divine nature of God and he endured all that Satan could throw at him and yet he remained without sin.
The wilderness temptation experience of Jesus provides compelling evidence that Christ could have had only one will and that was to do the will of God the Father. Jesus did not succumb to the temptations of the Devil because as God in the flesh, Jesus was not able to sin. He was the perfect substitute for the sins of humanity. He died on the cross to reconcile lost sinful mankind back to a holy God and his nature, which came from God himself, was completely impeccable. He is the bright and morning star, the Rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley. Trust Him today to be your Lord and Savior!