Defending God's Word_02 (14)

Matthew 4:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (Gr, peirazo)[1] by the devil.

The Father does not tempt us, but he does allow us to go through temptations. As we know from Adam and Abraham, the Father can test us, but never tempt us with sin.

The text specifically states that the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness “to be tempted.” How do we reconcile that Jesus is being led by the Spirit “to be” tempted? First, (Peirazo) can be rendered either as “tempted” (ESV, NIV, LEB) or “tested” (CEV, MSG), but seeing that Satan is carrying this out, it is best to be rendered “tempted.” This is not a literal versus a dynamic equivalent issue, because almost all dynamic equivalents have “tempted.”

Second, the Father would have foreknown that Satan was going to tempt Jesus, and that he would wait until his weakest moment to do so. What Satan would see as an opportunity to tempt Jesus, the Father may very well see as an opportunity to test Jesus, as he did with Abraham, establishing his faithfulness, which the Father was well aware was perfectly fine. Therefore, God allowed Jesus “to be” tempted, which he used as a test to confirm what he would already know to be true, an evident demonstration of Jesus faith. Jesus’ actions would establish or demonstrate God’s confidence in him. Jesus clearly revealed that his faith was a living faith. The apostle Paul wrote of Jesus, “Since he himself was tested in that which he has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tested.” (Heb. 2:18) Paul went on to write, “Although he [Jesus] was a son, he learned obedience from the things which he suffered. And having been made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal salvation.” – Hebrews 5:8-9.

[1] “to obtain information to be used against a person by trying to cause someone to make a mistake, ‘to try to trap, to attempt to catch in a mistake.’” – Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 329.