4:1 tempted. Although God Himself tempts no one (James 1:13), our temptations are included in His sovereign plan for our good. If we overcome, we are strengthened; if we succumb, we recognize more clearly our need for further sanctification and grace.
The temptation of Jesus (vv. 1–11) parallels the testing of Israel in the wildernesss. 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 wilderness was the type or shadow of Jesus’ temptation in the “wilderness” after His baptism.
The temptations appeal to common motivations: physical drives, pride, and the desire for possessions (1 John 2:16). But each is pointed specially at the Messiah. Satan appeals to Jesus in terms of His divine rights: “If You are the Son of God” (vv. 3, 6; cf. 27:40). The third temptation offers Jesus a path to kingship that avoids the Cross. Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are (Heb. 4:15), but He did not sin. He represents us before God as a “merciful and faithful high priest” (Heb. 2:17) because He knows through His human nature what it is to endure temptation. See “The Sinlessness of Jesus” at Heb. 4:15.