1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

Jesus is led by
the Spirit into the wilderness
Mark tells us that he was driven into the wilderness.

: “to cast forth,” with the suggestion of force (ek, “out,” ballo, “to cast”); hence “to drive out or forth.”

The word or idea of temptation is used in three different senses in the Bible

1. Greek word: peirazo pi-rad’-zo
Vine’s Word(s): Examination, Examine, Prove, Tempt, Try, Tried
Usage Notes:
KJV – tempt 29, – try 4, – tempter 2, – prove 1, – assay 1, – examine 1, – go about 1 [Total Count: 39]

Peirazo was originally used in this way:
To try or test with the intention of discovering what good or evil, what power or weakness, was in a person or thing.
The word eventually took on the meaning of finding what evil or weakness was present, since usually people broke down under whatever testing was brought forth.
The word further changed to mean this: that the test was given in order to break a person or thing down, to prove that they were weak or powerless.
The word went on to have a very negative connotation.
Testing with the intent to prove weakness and evil.

This word is often used of Satan.
Satan seeks to tempt us to do evil.
He wants to cause us to stumble and sin.
He seeks to bring forth opportunities to cause us to fail the test.
Satan only wants us to fail the testings and temptation we go through.

This word is sometimes used of God, but only in the original sense.
God will test a person to show what good or evil is within them.
It is never His intention to cause people to fail.

Dokimazo is generally used of God, but never of Satan.
Satan never tempts or tests anyone with the intention of proving that they are good, strong, or holy.
Satan never tempts anyone with the hope that he can approve of them in a good sense.

19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try (dokimazo them out. Please excuse me.’
Luke 14:19 (NIV)

The farmer bought the oxen with the intention of going to see what a good purchase he made.
He wanted to go and try out his new oxen, and anticipated good from them.

Peirazo- To test to see whether there is good or evil, strength or weakness, health or sickness.
6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
John 6:6 (NIV)
Here Jesus doesn’t have any desire to bring forth the evil in Phillip, but wants to see what his response will be. One of faith, or a response of faithlessness. Whether Phillip had clear spiritual insight, or if he was spiritually dull.

2a) in a good sense
1) to try whether a thing can be done
1a) to attempt, endeavour
2) to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quantity, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself

2b) in a bad sense,
to test one maliciously, craftily to put to the proof his feelings or judgments
2c) to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin
2c1) to solicit to sin, to tempt
1c1a) of the temptations of the devil
2d) after the OT usage
2d1) of God: to inflict evils upon one in order to prove his character and the steadfastness of his faith
2d2) men are said to tempt God by exhibitions of distrust, as though they wished to try whether he is not justly distrusted
2d3) by impious or wicked conduct to test God’s justice and patience, and to challenge him, as it were to give proof of his perfections.

Usage Notes: signifies (1) “to try, attempt, assay” (see TRY);(2) “to test, try, prove,” in a good sense, said of Christ and of believers, Heb. 2:18, where the context shows that the temptation was the cause of suffering to Him, and only suffering, not a drawing away to sin, so that believers have the sympathy of Christ as their High Priest in the suffering which sin occasions to those who are in the enjoyment of communion with God; so in the similar passage in Heb. 4:15; in all the temptations which Christ endured, there was nothing within Him that answered to sin. There was no sinful infirmity in Him. While He was truly man, and His Divine nature was not in any way inconsistent with His Manhood, there was nothing in Him such as is produced in us by the sinful nature which belongs to us; in Heb. 11:37, of the testing of OT saints; in 1Cor. 10:13, where the meaning has a wide scope, the verb is used of “testing” as permitted by God, and of the believer as one who should be in the realization of his own helplessness and his dependence upon God (see PROVE, TRY);in a bad sense, “to tempt” (a) of attempts to ensnare Christ in His speech, e.g., Matt. 16:1; Matt. 19:3; Matt. 22:18, 35, and parallel passages; John 8:6; (b) of temptations to sin, e.g., Gal. 6:1, where one who would restore an erring brother is not to act as his judge, but as being one with him in liability to sin, with the possibility of finding himself in similar circumstances, Jas. 1:13, 14 (see note below); of temptations mentioned as coming from the Devil, Matt. 4:1; and parallel passages; 1Cor. 7:5; 1Thess. 3:5 (see TEMPTER);(c) of trying or challenging God, Acts 15:10; 1Cor. 10:9 (2nd part); Heb. 3:9; the Holy Spirit, Acts 5:9: cp. No. 2.

Note: “James Acts 1:13-15 seems to contradict other statements of Scripture in two respects, saying (a) that ‘God cannot be tempted with evil,’ and (b) that ‘He Himself tempteth no man.’ But God tempted, or tried, Abraham, Heb. 11:17, and the Israelites tempted, or tried, God, 1Cor. 10:9. James 1:14, however, makes it plain that, whereas in these cases the temptation or trial, came from without, James refers to temptation, or trial, arising within, from uncontrolled appetites and from evil passions, cp. Mark 7:20-23. But though such temptation does not proceed from God, yet does God regard His people while they endure it, and by it tests and approves them.” * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 97.]

Greek word: dokimazo dok-im-ad’-zo
Root: from 1384
Cross Reference: TDNT – 2:255,181
Part of Speech: v
Vine’s Word(s): Allow, Approve, Approved, Discern, Discerner, Discernment, Examination, Examine, Prove, Refuse, Try, Tried
Usage Notes:
KJV – prove 10
– try 4
– approve 3
– discern 2
– allow 2
– like 1
– examine 1 [Total Count: 23]

1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
2) to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy
3) to test someone for the purpose of approving them, not for the purpose of showing that they are disapproved of

Doctors- are tested for the purpose of stating that they are approved of. Their knowledge and abilities have been carefully examined and scrutinized for the purpose of being able to say that they are genuine and approved, and then to be able to license them so that they can lawfully practice medicine.
The intention of testing doctors, nursed, lawyers, etc., is not to show that they are not approved of.
The testing is to show that they are approved of.
The testing is done with the hope that those being tested will be approved of.
There is a desire for success, not failure.

English Words: Approve, Approved
Usage Number: A-1
Part of Speech: Verb
Strong’s Number: 1381
Greek Word: dokimazo
Usage Notes: primarily, of metals (e.g., the Sept. of Prov. 8:10; Prov. 17:3), signifies “to prove,” e.g., 1John 4:1, more frequently to prove with a view to approval, e.g., Rom. 1:28, AV, “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge;” RV, “they refused;” marg., “did not approve,” the true meaning. Their refusal was not the outcome of ignorance; they had the power to make a deliberate choice; they willfully disapproved of having God in their knowledge.

In the next chapter, the Apostle speaks of the Jew as “approving things that are excellent,” Rom. 2:18. The Jew knew God’s will, and mentally “approved” of the things in which God had instructed him out of the Law. In Rom. 14:22, he is said to be happy who “judgeth not himself in that which he approveth;” that is to say, in that which he “approves” of after having put the matter to the test. The AV “alloweth” has not now this meaning.

As to the gifts from the church at Corinth for poor saints in Judea, those who were “approved” by the church to travel with the offering would be men whose trustworthiness and stability had been proved, 1Cor. 16:3 (the RV margin seems right, “whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send with letters”); cp. 2Cor. 8:22.

In Phil. 1:10 the Apostle prays that the saints may “approve the things that are excellent” or “things that differ,” i.e., “approve” after distinguishing and discerning.

In 1Thess. 2:4, the Apostle and his fellow-missionaries were “approved of God to be entrusted with the Gospel” (not “allowed,” AV). Not permission to preach, but Divine “approval” after Divine testing is intended. See ALLOW, DISCERN, EXAMINE, LIKE, PROVE, REFUSE, TRY.

Note: Cp. dokime, “proof, experience;” see also B.

A solicitation to do evil
Satan, working through our own lusts, tempts us to perform evil acts (1 Corinthians 7:5; James 1:13-14)
We may tempt (wrongly put to the test) God (Acts 5:9; 1 Corinthians 10:9);
God may test us, with no solicitation to evil (Hebrews 11:17) He does this to prove the validity of our faith.

d. There are parallels with the way that Jesus is tested and the way that Adam was tested; but Adam faced his temptation in the most favorable circumstances imaginable; Jesus in about the worst.

e. Jesus was tempted for the entire forty days; what follows is an account of one aspect of that temptation

f. We sometimes think that Jesus’ temptations were not real because they were not exactly like ours. There was never a sinful pull or sinful memory inside of Jesus, like in us. But in many ways, Jesus’ temptations were more real and more severe. For us, often times the pressure of temptation only relents when we give in – and Jesus never did. He had to withstand a much greater pressure of temptation than you or I ever will.

Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.
This does not mean that we have to be alone, though that is often the case in dealing with temptation.
Rather, it speaks to the fact that we are tempted personally, individually, and that the resistance and fight against temptation must be personal and individual.

Jesus was tempted by the Devil.
The Devil is a person, a fallen angel.
We are tempted by our own lusts and evil desires.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
James 1:13-14 (NKJV)

But we are also tempted and enticed to do evil by Satan.
A real, living, evil, powerful enemy of God and the people of God.

We see a capacity within mankind to do evil.
We see the invitation and encouragement towards evil that comes from Satan.

Jesus did not have any evil desires and sinful nature that the Devil could work with.
But Jesus had all the frailties of Human flesh that were available.
He also had power beyond humanity that could be corrupted to do the Devil’s will.

The tempting also seemed innocent enough.
But Satan presents himself in innocent ways.
14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
2 Cor 11:14 (NKJV)

Jesus was led by the Spirit; the Holy Spirit leads us into seasons of wilderness as well as seasons of green pastures.

After identifying with sinners in baptism, He now identifies with them in temptation.
Hebrews 4:15 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.

3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”

2. (2-4) The first temptation: make stone to bread for personal needs

a. To tempt a man with food, who has been fasting for forty days seems almost unfair; yet the Father allowed it because He knew Jesus could handle it. God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to resist (1 Corinthians 10:13)

i. The fact that Dr. Luke points out that afterward . . . He was hungry is important; after such a long fast, renewed hunger probably points to a critical need for food – Jesus is beginning to starve to death

ii. Jesus is hungry, but full of the Spirit; we are usually just the opposite.

b. If You are the Son of God is more accurately since You are the Son of God; Satan isn’t expressing doubt, but putting a challenge

i. The temptation was basically this: “Since You’re the Messiah, why are You so deprived? Do a little something for Yourself.” The same temptation comes to us: “If you’re a child of God, why are things so tough? Do a little something for yourself.”

c. This temptation is a solicitation to use the power of God for selfish purposes; the temptation to eat something inappropriate worked well with the first sinless man, so why not try it on the second?

i. We also see how temptation works: Satan appeals to a legitimate desire within Jesus (the desire to eat and survive); but he is suggesting that Jesus fulfill this legitimate desire in an illegitimate way. This is the essence of temptation

d. Jesus countered Satan’s suggestion with Scripture and was willing to fight this battle as a man – in this battle, He drew on no “special resources” unavailable to us

We effectively resist temptation in the same way: by countering Satan’s seductive lies by shining the light of God’s truth upon them. If we are ignorant of God’s truth, we are poorly armed in the fight against temptation

1. Satan asks Jesus to make stones into bread to satisfy needs of the body. There is nothing wrong with bread. Bread is the staff of life. The body has need of bread, and Jesus was starving. What is wrong? To use His great powers to minister to Himself would be selfish. He must demonstrate the truth of the great principle, “. . . Man shall not live by bread alone . . .” (Matt. 4:4). This is contrary to the thinking of this crass materialistic age that lives only to satisfy the whims of the body. Modern man in our secular society says, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” And as far as man is concerned, that ends it all. Selfishness is the curse of a creedless, secular society. Our Lord, in meeting this temptation, refuted the popular philosophy of the world.

There are some things that in and of themselves are not only not wrong, but are absolutely innocent and right in most circumstances.
But this circumstances called Jesus to deny Himself in that which was not only permissible, but needful.
Keep in mind this: It was needful physically to eat bread.
But it was more needful spiritually to learn how to trust God.
This was an easy enough act for any one of us to justify.
But the higher calling was the spiritual calling.
Jesus knew the priorities of the spiritual life.

5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
7 “Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

3. (5-8) The second temptation: all the kingdoms of this world in exchange for a moment of worship

a. This was an invitation to win back the earth without going to the cross; one reason why Jesus came was to take back Satan’s dominion, and here Satan was offering it to Him on a silver platter

b. The Father’s plan for Jesus was for Him to suffer first, then enter His glory (Luke 24:25-26); Satan was offering Jesus a way out of the suffering part

i. One day, it will be said that The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15); Satan was offering this to Jesus now, before the cross

ii. If Jesus accepted this, our salvation would be impossible; He might have gained some sort of “authority” to rule, but He could not redeem individual sinners through His sacrifice

c. Satan claims that authority over the earth’s kingdoms was delivered to him, and Jesus never challenges the statement. Who delivered it over to Satan and when? In Genesis 1, God gave man dominion over the earth, and Adam and his descendants have forfeited it over to Satan

i. Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31) and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) by the popular election of mankind since the days of Adam

ii. Since Satan possesses the glory of the kingdoms of this world, and can give it to whomever I wish, it should not surprise us to see the ungodly in positions of power and prestige

d. Again, Jesus answers Satan with the same resource that is available to us: the Word of God used by a Spirit-filled person.

2. Satan offers Jesus the nations of the world. Nations derive their power through brute force and political intrigue. War is a way of life. Hate and fear are the whips to motivate the mob. This is satanic, and Satan offers the kingdoms of the world on these terms. Men must be changed in order to enter God’s Kingdom: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The answer of Jesus has a note of finality, “. . . Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:10). Then the apostle Paul tells us, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2Cor. 10:3-5).

9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.
10 “For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’
11 “and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ”

Greek word: ekpeirazo ek-pi-rad’-zo
Vine’s Word(s): Tempt
Usage Notes:
KJV – tempt 4 [Total Count: 4]

1) to prove, test, thoroughly
2) to put to proof God’s character and power
To do something in order to provoke a response from God.
Provoking God to respond to a foolish act, in order to prove that He is God, or that He is good, or that He loves us, or that he is powerful, etc.
To foolishly provoke God to prove Himself, means that one does not trust God’s word, and that one must have further proof that God is all he says He is.
At the root of this kind of action is a foolish mistrust of God’s word about Himself.
It is calling God a liar.

13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

Satan departed from Jesus until there was a better opportunity to temp Him.
Departed- to stand off from.
Satan never totally and permanently left Jesus, but he stood off a distance until a better opportunity came.
If there are periods of relief regarding spiritual warfare, know this: they are only temporary.
2 Cor 2:11 (NKJV) lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

4. (9-13) The third temptation: testing God through signs and wonders

a. In Pesiqta Rabbati (162a) it is recorded that there was a traditional belief that the Messiah would show Himself to Israel standing on the roof of the temple.

b. This time, the Devil knows and quotes Scripture in his temptation; Satan is a Bible expert and knows how to twist Scriptures out of their context

i. The sad truth is that many people today will accept anyone who quotes a Bible verse as teaching God’s truth; but the mere use of Bible words does not necessarily convey the will of God

ii. Some have suggested that Satan is such a Bible expert because he has been looking for loopholes!

c. Satan could not himself throw Jesus off the pinnacle of the temple; he could do no more than suggest – he must ask Jesus to throw Himself down

d. Jesus answered Satan’s misuse of Scripture with the proper use of the Bible; again, He fights with the same resource available to us

i. Jesus refused to take a step of “faith” that was actually testing God in an ungodly way

ii. “The temptation may have been to perform a spectacular, but pointless miracle in order to compel wonder and belief of a kind.” (Morris)

e. When Satan saw that he couldn’t get anywhere, he left for a while – the Devil will always seek to come back at an opportune time – so don’t give him the opportunity!

i. Satan is not stupid; he will not continually put his limited resources into a ineffective battle. If you want Satan to leave you alone for a while, you must continually resist him. Many are so attacked because they resist so little!

5. Jesus resisted these temptations because He was walking in the Word and in the Holy Spirit; these two give the believer full resource for victory

a. Too much Word and not enough Spirit and you puff up (in the sense of pride); too much Spirit and not enough Word and you blow up; with the Word and the Spirit together, you grow up

b. By resisting these temptations as a man, Jesus proved that Adam did not have to sin; there was not something faulty in his make up. Jesus faced worse than Adam and never sinned.

3. Satan tempts Jesus to cast Himself down from the temple. It would seem a logical procedure for Jesus to impress the crowd as to His person and mission. But Jesus will follow no easy way to the throne. He must wear the crown of thorns before He wears the crown of glory. Stifler states succinctly, “There are two ways of despising God, one is to ignore His power, the other is to presume upon it.” Both are sin. It is easy to do nothing and then mouth pious platitudes about God providing for the sparrows and that He will take care of us. But God says, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread . . .” (Gen. 3:19).

For example, the missionary to a foreign land will have to study to learn the language, and then God will help him. We are partners of God, not puppets. Dr. Edward Judson, after considering what his father, Adoniram Judson, suffered in Burma said, “If we succeed without suffering, it is because others have suffered before us. If we suffer without success, it is that others may succeed after us.” Jesus rejected a false and phony spiritual stance. His answer was devastating: “Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah” (Deut. 6:16).

Jesus’ innocence was purity untempted.
His virtue came from that purity being tempted and kept.

The testing was not for the solicitation to evil, but for the proving of good.

Jesus’ testing was not that of wrong objects, but of wrong methods to gain those objects.