How could the Devil take Jesus places during the Temptation? How could they be near the pinnacle of the temple and then later on the mountain, when the Bible says they were in the desert (wilderness) during the Temptation?
There are aspects to the Temptation of Christ by Satan that we cannot know for certain, and we must take these points by faith. We do not know whether Satan was allowed the power to transport Jesus to these spots, or if these locations were part of visions during weakness involving proposed places, places Satan would have wanted to take Jesus to if Jesus had yielded. We know, for example, that Satan works on the mind; it is his workshop. He does that with us human beings. One commentator described Jesus’ mental and physical condition as
fiercely hungry! His poor stomach gnawed with desire. His weakened body cried out for food and He doubtless felt all the lightheadedness and perhaps delirium that men who go long days without food feel. Certainly this was a real and definite temptation.
That description is no doubt inadequate to relate what Jesus experienced. Luke 4:2 suggests that Jesus may have faced other temptations of the Devil during the 40 days of fasting previous to the temptations mentioned in Matthew 4.
Either is possible. It is not beyond God’s power that Jesus and Satan could have gone to these places literally, or they could have been there in mind amid Christ’s great mental anguish. Whatever the case, the importance of the Temptation is that Christ proved His deity and His inability to sin. He also used Scripture effectively (“It is written,” not “I think this or that”), providing an example for us in dealing with the Devil. Satan, by the way, never uses Scripture correctly. He twists it, as he did in the Garden of Eden and in the Temptation of Christ.
Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.