40 Days in the Desert

When we here about Jesus spending 40 days in the desert where he was tempted by the devil, we often assume that the 3 temptations we here about in Luke 4 and Matthew 4 are the temptations that he was faced with. They are all we see or hear about when people share this section of his life in the form of a story, or in a movie or other medium. There is an interesting little verse that is in both Luke and Matthew though:

Luke 4:2

Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

Matthew 4:2

And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

So it was after the 40 days that he was hungry, as anyone that hasn’t eaten for that long would be. So it is after the end of the 40 days that the devil tempts him to turn stones into bread in verse 3 of both Matthew and Luke 4. The other 2 temptations then come after this one.

So what about during the 40 days? According to verse 1 of chapter 4 in both Matthew and Luke, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit in the desert, however it also indicates that he was tempted for those 40 days by the devil in Luke 4:2 and Matthew 4:1.

Thinking about it with that in mind, it makes this story more amazing. Not only was Jesus very hungry when the devil began to tempt him in with the 3 temptations that we hear about, but he had also been picking away at Jesus for 40 days prior to that with other temptations. I know what it’s like when someone has been constantly at you to do something, as I’m sure you do as well. It can often seem like it is easier just to give into what they want after a while. Jesus stood firm though, despite being hungry and probably sick of the devil’s constant attentions.

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