Robertson's Word Pictures of the New TestamentMatthew 4:1
- To be tempted of the devil (peirasthnai upo tou diabolou).
- Matthew locates the temptation at a definite time, "then" (tote) and place, "into the wilderness" (eiv thn erhmon), the same general region where John was preaching. It is not surprising that Jesus was tempted by the devil immediately after his baptism which signified the formal entrance upon the Messianic work. That is a common experience with ministers who step out into the open for Christ. The difficulty here is that Matthew says that "Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil." Mark (Mark 1:12) puts it more strongly that the Spirit "drives" (ekballei) Christ into the wilderness. It was a strong impulsion by the Holy Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness to think through the full significance of the great step that he had now taken. That step opened the door for the devil and involved inevitable conflict with the slanderer (tou diabolou). Judas has this term applied to him (John 6:70) as it is to men (2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3) and women (she devils, 1 Timothy 3:11) who do the work of the arch slanderer. There are those today who do not believe that a personal devil exists, but they do not offer an adequate explanation of the existence and presence of sin in the world. Certainly Jesus did not discount or deny the reality of the devil's presence. The word "tempt" here (peirazw) and in 4:3 means originally to test, to try. That is its usual meaning in the ancient Greek and in the Septuagint. Bad sense of ekpeirazw in 4:7 as in Deuteronomy 6:16. Here it comes to mean, as often in the New Testament, to solicit to sin. The evil sense comes from its use for an evil purpose.