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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Was the Purpose of Jesus' Temptation

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Don Stewart

The account of Jesus' temptation is closely related to the preceding narrative concerning His baptism. The specific connection between His baptism and temptation is in the term "God's Son." The two other members of the Trinity proclaim Jesus is "Son of God" immediately following His baptism. Now the question arises, "Will He be faithful to His calling, especially in the circumstances of testing?" There are at least five reasons as to why Jesus was tempted.

1. It Demonstrated His Humanity

The temptations gave proof of His true humanity. The Bible says:

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

The fact that He could be tested showed that Jesus was genuinely human.

2. It Is An Example To Us

It is part of His example to us. We are told to walk as He walked:

Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6).

3. It Formed Part Of His Personal Discipleship

The temptation formed part of His own personal discipline. In some sense Jesus learned obedience through the temptation.

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (Hebrews 5:7-9).

4. He Can Sympathize With Us

It helped Him be a sympathizing intercessor.

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 (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus experienced the same temptation as human beings and can therefore sympathize with humanity.

5. It Is Part Of The Great Conflict

It formed part of the great conflict in which the "seed of woman" was to "bruise the head of the serpent." (Genesis 3:15). In this first great struggle of the conflict the destined conqueror came off completely victorious.


Jesus was led of the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. These various temptations had a purpose. First, they demonstrated His humanity - only human beings can be tempted. Jesus was also tempted to be an example to us. We are to respond to temptations in the same manner in which He did. In addition, it was part of Jesus' own personal discipleship. The temptations also helped Him to sympathize with us when we are tempted. Finally, the temptations were part of the great conflict that the Bible speaks about.

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