Temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness – 40 Days of Seclusion
The temptations of Jesus in the wilderness of Judea happened right after John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. Once Jesus was supernaturally identified as the Messiah, you would think that he would start facing masses of people. Actually, no one could find him. Jesus traveled into the wilderness of Judea and spent forty days in seclusion.
After forty days in the wilderness without food, the Gospels record a fascinating one-on-one encounter between Jesus and the fallen angel Satan. Here is Luke’s description of the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness:
“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:1-13)
Temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness – Scripture is the Best Defense
The temptations of Jesus in the wilderness followed three basic themes. The first temptation concerned the so-called, “lusts of the flesh.” Jesus was hungry and Satan tempted him to convert stones into bread. The second temptation concerned the “pride of life.” Satan challenged Jesus to throw himself from a high place, knowing that God would send his angels to catch him. The third temptation concerned the “lusts of the eyes.” Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, saying, “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.”
Notably, Jesus responded to each temptation beginning with three words: “It is written.” Jesus found power in quoting the Hebrew Scriptures, which he had been studying since he was a boy.
After the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness, he returned to the region of Galilee. News about Jesus spread throughout the whole countryside. He went to his hometown of Nazareth and began teaching.
“Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.” (Luke 4:14-15)