Jesus and Temptation

Hi all!,

I understand that the devil and demons are not the source of every temptation but that we can tempt ourselves too. The catechism says Jesus was able to be tempted by the devil because he was fully Human. If Jesus was born without sin then he also did not have concupiscence which would mean he can’t be tempted? I am confused about this since I thought original sin was the root of all sin. Can you guys enlighten me!

God Bless

Right. No concupscience. No internal temptation.

Temptation doesn’t have to do with being able to sin. Anyone can be tempted. Temptation is based on desires.

I don’t know about concupiscience but I’m pretty sure tha Jesus’ human nature experienced temptation.

**Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. ** (Matthew 4:1-2)

Jesus recapitulates the life of Israel in Matthew’s Gospel. The Israelites were hungry in the desert. In the passage above Matthew says that Jesus is hungry too. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert an Jesus spends 40 days in the desert. Jesus does everything that Israel had done in the Old Testament, goes everywhere Israel went, and relives the life of Israel. That’s part of the narrative thread of Matthews Gospel. He faces all the same trials and temptations as Israel but Jesus succeeds where Israel failed.

Jesus exeriences the same three temptations that Israel faced in the desert. They were both tempted but Israel failed and Jesus succeeded.

***For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. **(Hebrews 4:15 RSV)

For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin. (Hebrew 4:15 DR)*

He was fully human. I’m sure his human nature experienced temptation. The bible says so.


Concupiscence is from original sin.

He did not have concupiscence –

–thus he did not have temptation “from within” (ab intrinseco). Such a temptation comes from an interior disorder. His did not have any disorder.

Jesus did not have concupiscence and did not experience temptation from within.

We must understand the texts of Scripture as the Church understands them. And sometimes we can be mistaken in our understanding of a text --it can seem to say something and we think for a long time it means something -that we later find out that such is not completely correct.

I understand the confusion --I too was confused about this many years ago when I came into full communion with the Church.

Line from Jimmy Akin from Catholic Answers:

“One additional thing that should be known is that the biblical term for “tempting” is the same as the term for “testing.” Jesus was not tempted in the sense that we are — that is, having evil desires — but in the sense of being tested to see if it was possible to tempt him in the sense of giving him evil desires. He was not capable of receiving such desires because of his infinite holiness as Son of God.”

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit