Matthew 4:3. The Tempter
“And when the tempter (satan) came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”
Let’s explore the key points of Matthew 4:3 and focus on the tempter. Using Bible scriptures.
1. The Tempter:
The first temptation recorded in the Bible occurs in the book of Genesis, specifically in Genesis 3:1-6. This passage describes the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden by the serpent, who is traditionally understood to be Satan in the form of a serpent. The serpent tempts Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God had forbidden them to eat from. The first Sin.
The word “tempter” in Matthew 4:3 refers to Satan, who came to Jesus in the wilderness to tempt Him. Satan is known as the great deceiver and adversary of God and humanity. He seeks to lead people away from God’s will and entice them into sin. The role of Satan as the tempter is mentioned in various passages of the Bible:
- 1 Thessalonians 3:5: “For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.”
- 1 Corinthians 7:5: “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
2. Son of God:
The tempter challenges Jesus by saying, “If You are the Son of God.” This statement questions Jesus’ identity and seeks to create doubt. However, the Bible affirms that Jesus is indeed the Son of God:
- Matthew 16:16: “Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'”
- John 1:49: “Nathanael answered and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!'”
- John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
3. Stone to Bread:
The specific temptation presented by the tempter is for Jesus to command that stones become bread. This temptation targets Jesus’ physical hunger after fasting for forty days and nights. Satan attempts to exploit Jesus’ vulnerability and test His obedience to God. However, Jesus responds to this temptation with Scripture, affirming His reliance on God and obedience to His will:
- Matthew 4:4: “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3, emphasizing that human sustenance relies not only on physical bread but also on spiritual nourishment from God’s Word.
Matthew 4:3 highlights Satan as the tempter, his challenge to Jesus’ identity as the Son of God, and the specific temptation for Jesus to turn stones into bread. The temptation does not involve water in this particular verse, but other instances in the Bible showcase Jesus’ power over water through miracles.