Question & Answer – Was the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness just about food?

“The first great temptation was the indulgence of appetite; the second, presumption; the third, love of the world.” The Review and Herald, November 28, 1882.

Besides food, the indulgence of appetite may also include a desire to satisfy a need or a craving for the things of this world. We are told: “Satan has better success in approaching man. He whispers, ‘All this money, all this gain, this land, this power, honor and riches will I give thee.’ For what? His conditions generally are, that integrity shall be yielded, conscientiousness blunted, and selfishness indulged. Through devotion to worldly interests, Satan receives the homage which he asks. The door is left open for him to enter as he pleases, with his evil train of impatience, love of self, pride, avarice, over-reaching, and the whole catalogue of sinful traits. Man is charmed, and treacherously lured on to ruin. If we yield ourselves to worldliness of heart and life, Satan is satisfied.” Ibid.

“Satan flattered himself that he could take advantage of the humanity of Christ to urge Him over the line of trust to presumption. Upon this point many souls are wrecked. Satan tried to deceive Christ through flattery. He admitted that Christ was right in the wilderness in His faith and confidence that God was His Father, under the most trying circumstances. He then urged Christ to give him one more proof of His entire dependence upon God, one more evidence of His faith that He was the Son of God, by casting Himself from the Temple. He told Christ that if He was indeed the Son of God He had nothing to fear; for angels were at hand to uphold Him. Satan gave evidence that he understood the Scriptures by the use he made of them.

“The Redeemer of the world wavered not from His integrity and showed that He had perfect faith in His Father’s promised care. He would not put the faithfulness and love of His Father to a needless trial, although He was in the hands of the enemy, and placed in a position of extreme difficulty and peril. He would not, at Satan’s suggestion, tempt God by presumptuously experimenting on His providence. Satan had brought in scripture which seemed appropriate for the occasion, hoping to accomplish his designs by making the application to our Saviour at this special time.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 282.

The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness was not just about food but included the indulgence of appetite, presumption and the love of the world and it is these three things that we can and must overcome through Jesus.