Why did Satan try to tempt Christ?


#1

I do not understand the relevance of Satan tempting Christ. I do not understand how it would be possible to tempt Christ since he is God. Since God made everything, how is it possible to tempt God? Could you explain the what these passages are suppose to mean?


#2

Because Satan is not omniscient and because he cannot read minds, at the time of the temptations Satan may not have known that Jesus of Nazareth was both God and man. He may only have known that this particular person was a special threat to his dominion; in fact, the temptations apparently were designed to elicit information:

The first temptation asks Jesus to demonstrate divine power:

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread” (Matt. 4:3)

The second temptation asks Jesus to demonstrate that he is specially protected by God:

“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone’” (Matt. 4:6).

And the third temptation offers Jesus a shortcut to the earthly political reign commonly expected of the Messiah:

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:8-9).

Jesus not only refused the temptations themselves; he refused to satisfy Satan’s curiosity about the nature of the threat to Satan’s dominion with which Satan was faced. Satan left (cf. Matt. 4:10-11), perhaps not knowing at that point whether he was dealing with a political Messiah, a divinely-protected human being, or with God himself.


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