There were no eyewitness to Jesus' temptation in the desert. The Gospel of Mark simply records that Satan tempted Jesus. Luke and Matthew report on the nature of Jesus' three tests, though they disagree on the order. Jesus may have told his disciples of these temptations. Or, the Gospel authors may have summarized in this story the kinds of temptations Jesus experienced throughout his whole life.

Read the account of Jesus' temptations from Luke 4:1—13 while noting the following information for each temptation.

First Temptation: Turn stone to bread

Jesus' Response: “One does not live by bread alone” (Lk 4:4).

Meaning: Jesus refuses to work a miracle to satisfy his own human needs. He trusts that his Father will provide for him. Moreover, he does not envision his ministry as an economic Savor to a suffering people. His personal example would show that through suffering he would serve as Living Bread for the world.

Second Temptation: Do homage to Satan

Jesus' Response: “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve” (Lk 4:8)

Meaning: Jesus refuses to seek worldly power, especially by sharing power with Satan. His exclusive commitment is to his heavenly Father. Throughout his ministry, Christ resists the repeated appeal of the crowds to be a military, political leader. IN contrast he choose to be a king for others, through suffering and humble service, not by mimicking the tyranny of worldly rulers.

Third Temptation: Prove your are the Son of God

Jesus' Response: “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test” (Lk 4:12).

Meaning: Jesus refuses to test God, the loving Father, whom he knows intimately. Jesus will not perform a sensational deed to get people to believe in him. Rather, he realizes God's will is the way of service and suffering and wants his followers to respond to him in true freedom and in faith.

(Adapted from Encountering Jesus in the New Testament by Michael Pennock.)