Thank you for your good question. Before I answer it, I would like to remind us all that God’s Word is inspired by a God who cannot lie. As we read in Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” Therefore, we know that the Bible does not contain any contradictions, since one of the passages would be a lie if contradictions were possible. When there seems to be a contradiction, we need to ask the Lord for wisdom to properly understand His precious Word.

Let us read Matthew 4:1-3. “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”

Now let us read Luke 4:1-3. “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.”

Luke’s gospel is clear that our Lord was tempted of the devil for 40 days. After the 40 days of temptation, we read of the interaction between Satan and the Lord. In Matthew 4:1, we read that the Lord Jesus was “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” This verse makes it plain that our Lord was tempted for 40 days since the purpose of the Spirit leading Him into the wilderness was for the devil to tempt Him. After the 40 days were complete, we read about the interaction between Satan and the Lord, just as we do in Luke’s gospel.

Therefore, Satan tempted Christ for 40 days and 40 nights, but we only have recorded for us the interaction between Satan and the Lord after the 40 days were completed. Mark 1:13 supports this interpretation, where we read “And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him” (NASB).

The purpose of the temptation of Christ was not to see if He would sin, but to show that He could not sin and is therefore God. Satan tried to expose Christ as a sinner who could not be the Savior, but the temptation showed Christ to be the holy, spotless Son of God. Only “a lamb without blemish and without spot” was qualified to be our Savior, and Christ proved that He was qualified.

God is able to turn Satan’s worst schemes into Christ’s greatest victories, and this is one such example. Let us remember this in our lives and in the world around us. All praise and glory be to our Father and Lord Jesus Christ! (304.3) (DJ)