Temptations of the Savior

The following is an analysis of the Temptations of the Savior recorded in and Matt. 4:1–11 and Luke 4:1–13

Location:  Wilderness of Judaea

The first temptation is the same in both accounts.  Luke has the temple pinnacle temptation last, whereas Matthew has it second.

Matthew Luke
Order of Temptations:

  1. Son of God?  Bread of Stones
  2. Son of God?  Cast thyself down
  3. All these things?  Worship me.
Order of Temptations:

  1. Son of God?  Bread of Stones
  2. All this power?  Worship me.
  3. Son of God?  Cast thyself down

Farrar suggests that Matthew’s account, with the promise of worldly riches and fame seems more likely, since it represents a direct appeal, having perhaps failed in the other two temptations.  He also suggests that Matthew may have heard the account straight from the Savior as an Apostle, since the Savior would be the only source of such knowledge.

Matthew Luke
Preface

1 THEN was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

 

1 AND Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

Bread of Stones

Setting No. 1 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

Temptation No. 1: 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Answer No. 1: 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

 

Setting No. 1: 2 Being forty days tempted of the devil.  And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

Temptation No. 1: 3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.

Answer No. 1  4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Cast Thyself Down

Setting No. 2 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

Temptation 2: 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Answer No. 2:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

 

Setting No. 3:  9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him,

Temptation 3:  If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:

10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:

11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Answer No. 3:  12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Worship Satan

Setting No. 3:  8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

Temptation No. 3: 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Answer No. 3: 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

 

Setting No. 2:  5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

Temptation No. 2: 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.

Answer No. 2: 8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Prologue

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Matt. 4:1 – 11

 

13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

Luke 4:1 – 13

I.B            The Importance of Mission

James E. Talmage suggests that something important happened during the 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.

Christ’s realization that He was the chosen and foreordained Messiah came to Him gradually. As shown by His words to His mother on the occasion of the memorable interview with the doctors in the temple courts, He knew, when but a Boy of twelve years, that in a particular and personal sense He was the Son of God; yet it is evident that a comprehension of the full purport of His earthly mission developed within Him only as He progressed step by step in wisdom. His acknowledgment by the Father, and the continued companionship of the Holy Ghost, opened His soul to the glorious fact of His divinity. He had much to think about, much that demanded prayer and the communion with God that prayer alone could insure.  (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, Ch.10, p.127 – p.128 Emphasis added.)

The Savior realized his mission in life and his responsibilities, just as we have been talking about John the Baptist.

But, you say, I am obviously not as important as the Savior is.  My mission is not the same as his mission.

But listen to what Elder Talmage said.  His fasting “opened His soul to the glorious fact of His divinity.”  What do the brethren tell you about your mission in life?  What does the Young Woman Value Statement say about “Divine nature”?  Have you no divinity in you?  Do not the brethren in their talks to you emphasize the importance of being a daughter or son of God?

It is important, perhaps vitally important, that before you face serious temptations in your life, that you know that fact.

I.C            Temptations of Youth

Why do we have these temptations recorded quite early in the ministry of the Savior?  Might it be that such temptations are the common lot of youth?

The first temptation, to turn stone into loaves of bread appealed to the Savior’s power.  The second temptation, to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, appealed to the Savior to tempt or test the Father’s power to save him.  The third appealed directly to Satan’s power to provide fame and fortune.

As a youth, you may be tested to either trust in yourself, tempt God for inappropriate things, or to trust directly in Satan’s plan.  Any of these courses will lead us away from God.

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