Why was Jesus tempted in the desert by Satan?

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Question / Comment - Why was Jesus tempted in the desert by Satan? 


I have a few questions and wonder if you can offer some insight.
Why was Jesus tempted? He was not going to fail a test. He is Lord. 
Why was he tested in the first place?
Why in the desert? 
How did the adversary meet Him there and even take Him to the top of the mountain to show Him the riches of this world? I mean, the adversary had no chance at all. 
Oh, one more thing: on His way to the crucifixion, the Lord asked the women not to weep for Him because of what would occur later. Where can I read about the devastation the Lord referred to in Luke 23:28-31? 


JPN Reply:


I hope things are going well. I'll just answer your questions briefly as there are a few ?

Why was Jesus tempted if He is Lord and not going to fail? 

We need to remember that though He was God He humbled Himself and came and lived as the perfect man reliant upon His Father (Phil 2:5-8). The Bible calls Him the 'second man, the last Adam' (1 Cor 15:45-47) - so He came and as our representative He had to be tested as the first Adam was. The first Adam failed and fell. Jesus didn't thankfully. But this had to be proved to both mankind and the angelic realm. You will note that as soon as the temptation was over, the angels ministered to Him. So the angelic realm was watching - both good and bad, seeing what would happen! (Matt 4:11) He had to be seen as victorious where the first Adam wasn't. And obviously this temptation was not the last of the tests. The big one came in the garden of gethsemane when faced with the cross.

Also He learned obedience through all the temptations and difficulties that He encountered. 

Heb 5:8-9 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered (9) and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

And through that He is able to sympathize and help us in ours:

Heb 2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Heb 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. (16) Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Why was He tested in the desert? 

I'm not sure exactly that it had to be in the desert but two thoughts come to mind:

  1. The contrast with Adam and Eve's temptation - The first Adam was tested in the most perfect of environments, the garden of Eden, and fell. The last Adam, Jesus, was tested in the harshest of environments, and remained true. Adam and Eve had everything he needed in the garden yet disobeyed God. Jesus was without food for 40 days and out with the wild beasts, and yet withstood every test. 
  2. Israel, as a nation, was tested in the desert. And despite seeing God's provision they too fell and disobeyed God. 

Deu 8:2-3 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (3) He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

In basically their first test after the wonderful victory at the Red Sea, Israel grumbled against God in unbelief.

Exo 15:22-24 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. (23) When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah. ) (24) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What are we to drink?"

And they would go on to grumble and disbelief God in 10 separate important events.

Num 14:21-23 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, (22) not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times-- (23) not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.

So Jesus endured far greater times of thirst and famine in the desert... and yet never disobeyed or grumbled at God. He proved that He would remain faithful to God despite how trying the conditions were!

How did the adversary meet Him there and even take Him to the top of the mountain to show Him the riches of this world? 

The Bible says that Satan goes 'to and fro' over the face of the earth (Job 1:7). Being a spirit he is not restricted in movement the way we humans are. So it isn't hard for the enemy to meet Jesus there. He would have been watching Jesus very closely! The Bible doesn't say how he took him to the top of the mountain, or to the highest point in the Temple for that matter (Matt 4:5). Later in Acts we read of Philip getting 'transported' physically and supernaturally by God's Spirit (Acts 8:39-40) - Maybe it is similar. I can't say exactly how it happened with Satan and Jesus as the Bible doesn't say but it does seem that they were physically there.

Where can I read about the devastation the Lord referred to in Luke 23:28-31?  

Luk 23:28-31 But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. (29) "For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' (30) "Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, 'FALL ON US,' AND TO THE HILLS, 'COVER US.' (31) "For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

This is a quote from Hos 10:8 and Jesus' application has both a near and far fulfillment. The near fulfillment was what happened to Jerusalem in 70AD when it was sacked by the Romans and destroyed. The Jewish historian Josephus writes that 1.1 million Jews were killed during this siege. It was dreadful times. So Jesus' warning has this time in view and the details of this event are recorded by historians. 

But it also speaks to the last days leading up to Jesus' return where people will say this very thing again as they hide:

Rev 6:15-17 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. (16) They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! (17) For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

Hope this helps! God Bless,

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