It’s important to know that Jesus was “God manifest in the flesh” (see 1st Timothy 3:16). This is made very clear in John 1:1 & 14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus became a true MAN with a spirit, soul and body, yet He never ceased being GOD. Satan is a spirit being and yet he was able to appear to Christ in some way in order to tempt Him. We are not going to go over those temptations but I would encourage you to read Matthew 4:1-11. His chief desire in the temptations was to cause Jesus to sin, for if he could accomplish that Jesus could not be mankind’s Savior. Why? If Jesus sinned He Himself would need a Savior. That is a very solemn thought, but thank God it was impossible for Jesus to sin, for He was and is HOLY, which means He cannot sin. This truth was brought out shortly before He was born: “And the angel answered and said to her (Mary), ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that HOLY ONE who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” Because Jesus was absolutely holy, Scripture also says that He: 1) Did no sin (1st Peter 2:22); 2) Knew no sin (2nd Corinthians 5:21); and 3) In Him is no sin (1st John 3:5). This means Jesus: 1) Never committed an act of sin; 2) Never had any experimental knowledge of sin; and 3) Never had a SIN nature dwelling in His heart. He was indeed “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:25).

These truths have led some to ask, “If Jesus could not sin, why did Satan tempt Him to sin?” As intimated above, Satan must have thought it was possible for him to sin even though each of his temptations failed to get a response from Jesus. Others have asked, “If Jesus could not sin, then why does it say in Hebrews 2:18, ‘For in that He Himself has SUFFERED, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted?’” In this question they are really asking, “Since Jesus SUFFERED when He was tempted, doesn’t it prove that He could sin?” I believe the answer to this is quite simple; Jesus SUFFERED FROM WITHOUT BUT NEVER FROM WITHIN. His holy soul was repulsed (and thus He suffered) by Satan’s temptations to commit sin, but there was nothing in Him to respond to those temptations. We saw from 1st John 3:5 that “In Him is no sin.” You and I have sin dwelling in us (see Romans 7:18-20), but this principle of sin, which causes us at times to respond to temptations, was not in Jesus. Satan was going to tempt Jesus again (at the cross) yet listen to what Jesus said to His disciples, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and HE HAS NOTHING IN ME” (John 14:30). Once again Satan would try to get Jesus to sin, but there was NO SIN IN HIM that would respond to his diabolical suggestions to commit sin.

Before Jesus was tempted by Satan we read, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Since the Spirit of God led Him into the wilderness for the very purpose of being tempted by the devil, the question we should be asking is, “What was God’s purpose in allowing His Son to be tempted?”  There are two main purposes:

1) We saw in Hebrews 2:18 that since Jesus “suffered, being tempted, He is ABLE TO AID THOSE WHO ARE TEMPTED.” Jesus was really tempted; He knows what it’s like for Satan to put worldly things before people in order to tempt them to sin, and this means Jesus CAN HELP US WHEN WE ARE TEMPTED. I might add that He also SYMPATHIZES WITH US at those times, as we read in Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus knows firsthand what it’s like to be tempted by Satan and thus He feels for us and can truly help us when we are tempted by Satan. Of course, we have to LET HIM HELP US, so it goes on to say in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

2) He was tempted TO PROVE HE WAS SINLESS, which in turn QUALIFIED HIM TO BE OUR SAVIOR. We saw earlier that Jesus was holy and thus sinless, and we conclude that “Jesus was not tempted to see if He WOULD SIN, but to prove that He COULDN’T SIN. Throughout the Old Testament we have sacrifices for sin being offered to God and one of the main requirements of those sacrifices was they were to be “without blemish” (see Exodus 12:5 and Leviticus 1;5, 10; 4:3; 5:15). This means they had to be PERFECT, for they all pictured the PERFECT HOLINESS of Christ. The Apostle Peter teaches us that we have been redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of A LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH AND WITHOUT SPOT.” Again, if Jesus could have sinned He Himself would need a Savior, but since He was absolutely “without blemish and without spot,” He was qualified to take our place in death and judgment on the cross and thus He became our Savior.  (414.1)  (DO)