Matthew 4:1-11 The Devil Tempts Jesus Who Appeals To the Word.
Upon being baptized by John, the Spirit descended upon Jesus, and the Father spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (3:17) The persons of the trinity bear witness to each other, no other witness is required, but as it turns out John was a witness – that Jesus, who fulfilled all righteousness, had the Spirit light upon him, which comes to all who are to fulfill a mission for the Father, and with the testimony of the Father. To this end we are told that this same Spirit “led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (v. 1) The three persons of the Godhead were in agreement. “And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.” (v. 2). For any other human being, Luke’s statement would be a huge understatement, but Luke wanted to make the point that He who was both God and man, did actually hunger.
By the same token, Jesus was also tempted. By this also we learn that it is no sin, per se, to be tempted. Forty days is significant. “The temptation of Jesus parallels the testing of Israel in the desert. The forty days correspond to the forty years of wandering (cf. Num. 14:34). This event recalls Deut. 8:1-5, used by Jesus in response to one of the temptations. The experience of Israel in the desert was the type or shadow of Jesus’ temptation in the “wilderness” after His baptism.” (NGSB 1509) As the Son of God, lighted upon by the Spirit, and receiving the testimony of the Father, He was called upon to fulfill His messianic mission, and as such he was about to be tempted by the devil, with temptations particular to His personage. Some believed Jesus was the Christ already, and some did not, and this would continue until His ascension and beyond.
However, anyone with knowledge and interest in the Scriptural hope of the Messiah, would know that this person would be the one who would, in his person, occupy the three anointed offices, and it is precisely in regard to these offices that the devil tempts Jesus to renounce. The devil’s first temptation was in respect of his office as a prophet. Would he satisfy his hunger, or resist? Of course, he resisted, because as the Prophet the word of God was paramount, and as it turns out, he quoted a verse which put these two staples in their proper perspective (vv. 3-4 Cf. Dt. 8:3). In the second temptation, the devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, the temporal place of the office of the Priest (v. 5). Here the devil actually thought to quote scripture himself (v. 6; Ps. 91:11-12). The irony in quoting from Psalm 91 is that it speaks of the devil’s defeat by the Messiah.
Psalm 91:13 states, concerning the Messiah, that He would “tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.” (Cf. Ps. 110) In Jesus refusal to do what was an attempt to tempt the Lord, he also convicted the devil as doing just that with the Messiah (v. 7; Dt. 6:16). The devil then seeks to tempt Jesus in His kingly office, with a promise of a kingship of his own, if only Jesus would worship him (vv. 8-9). This final temptation got to the ultimate end of things – who will be worshipped? Again Jesus quotes Scripture, and in the process dispenses with the devil. The covenant LORD, is the only God who is to be served (v. 10; Dt. 6:13; 10:20). When the devil departed angels indeed came and ministered to Jesus, for He also is worthy to be worshipped and served (v. 11). The angels were given charge for Him (v. 6a; Ps. 91:11).