And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. Luke 4:13 KJV
When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. Luke 4:13 NASB
Satan subjected the Lord Jesus to temptations which displayed Satan’s experience and skill. But Satan found nothing in Him because in the previous chapter, the Father found everything in Him (Luke 3:22).
While we frequently use the Lord’s handling of Satan’s suggestions as a basis for teaching how to avoid temptation, it must be noted that He was led by the Spirit (4:1) into the wilderness with the express purpose of confronting the devil. The Spirit of God had not a moment’s hesitation to provoke the challenge or the slightest qualm that it was possible for the Savior to sin. He was led by the Spirit for the purpose of defeating Satan and binding the “strong man.”
God was fully confident that here was a Man who could withstand every ploy and plot of Satan. The Father allowed Him to be tested to display His perfection; Satan tempted Him to try to reveal some imperfection.
The order of the temptation is valuable to note. The second and third temptations are reversed in Matthew and Luke’s accounts. In Matthew, the order is in keeping with the failures of the nation of Israel in the wilderness. In Luke, the order is consistent with the order of the allurements in Genesis 3. He stood where the nation fell. He was faithful where the first man failed.
While the temptation in the wilderness was Spirit directed in the case of the Lord Jesus, it does reveal to us, nevertheless, the strategy of Satan. The essence of all temptation is found in his three suggestions.
In the first, his bait is: satisfy yourself. The “bread test” carries with it the thought of the rightfulness of meeting basic needs even if God has not supplied them. If moving outside the Word of God is necessary, it is a “need” and thus justified.
In the second temptation in Luke, it is: “spare yourself.” Ultimately, he was saying, “Avoid the cross and I can give you the kingdoms without any suffering.” Here is the “blessing test.” In effect, it is preferring the gift over the Giver.
In Luke, the third snare is what Satan thought would ultimately bring the Lord Jesus down. “Show yourself!” The Lord Jesus had come from Jordan by way of Nazareth. He was returning to Nazareth. He was unappreciated and unrecognized in the backwater regions of the nation. Here was His opportunity to “show Himself” to men; here was an opportunity to gain fame and notoriety. And Satan even used Scripture to suggest the plausibility of it. Here was the “boredom test,” the lure of escaping the day-to-day routine of life.
Satan emptied his arsenal against the Lord Jesus and had to walk away – a defeated foe. All that Israel failed to be; all that Adam and humanity failed to be; and, all that every servant failed to be, this unique perfect Man was.
Look at Luke’s order and match it against the statements in Genesis 3: a tree that was “good for food,” and that it was “pleasant to the eyes,” and a “tree to be desired to make one wise.”
We are told to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” The Lord Jesus never needed to pray that, yet the Spirit led Him into the wilderness to face Satan. Have you ever noticed that the Lord Jesus never asked anyone to pray for Him?