Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
I. The PERSONALITY of the Evil One. Influence is that which flows out from personality. In proving the existence of God arguments from design are used; so it would be difficult to reconcile the condition of the world in its misery with the Divine goodness unless some other agent be at work in it. All nations in the past have borne witness to a belief in spiritual beings. The evil of the inner life bears the same testimony; no mental law accounts for it. Made clear by revelation. Christ's words and work proclaim existence of the Evil One. The writers of the New Testament testify to the personality of Satan (Acts 5:3). The temptation makes this clear.
II. His QUALIFICATIONS for the office of Tempter.
1. Skill; he has an angelic nature; great experience.
(1) rule, power;
(2) does not stand alone in his work;
(3) the third source of power lies in that mysterious relation between fallen man and the Tempter which necessitated redemption, and which justified the expression, "Prince of this world."
3. Malice: with skill and power is combined unceasing hostility to God and man. But while we note the extent of Satan's power we must not forget its limits. As a creature he possesses finite capacities. His knowledge is restricted in two ways: he cannot discern our thoughts, nor by himself read the future. True, he has acquired a conjectural knowledge. Also limits placed upon his power: on the Divine side there is the law of permission; on our side, of free will. Formidable as the enemy is, there is no ground for despondency, nor excuse for failure in the conflict. In the history of the Tempter see an instance of the fearful way sin may be permitted to run its course.
(W. H. Hatchings, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.