Matthew 4:1-11 is a fascinating account of three huge temptations Jesus faced during his time in the desert before he began his ministry. It’s often brushed off by remarks such as “Jesus was tempted just like us, so he can sympathise with what you are struggling with right now”, but I am convinced that there is so much more in these verses.
First of all, this happens before Jesus begins his ministry, he is baptised and the Father declares him to be the Son, then Matthew 4:1 says
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Clearly this is a hugely significant moment in Jesus’ life, and having read through these verses I believe that the three temptations that follow are designed as preparation for the rest of Jesus’ ministry, including his death. These are three temptations which although they may not be clearly expressed in the remainder of the gospels must surely have reappeared time and time again, and Jesus must have battled with them each time. It must have been a great strength to him to be able to look back on his desert trial and remember how he dealt with the temptations then, holding those scriptures close to his heart.
I will look at each of the three temptations in a little more detail in future posts, including hopefully pointing out where else in the gospels those same temptations would have occurred.