In Matthew 4: 1-11 Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. What is the source for the Apostle Matthew claiming the devil had a conversation with Jesus? Was it a dream? Revelation? Someone else who told Mathew? Was anyone else present with Jesus? Or did Jesus relay the conversation he had with the devil and if so, to whom and when? Thank you and God bless.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
Greetings, sir John Sheridan. Allow me to give a very brief explanation on the background of the books of the Gospel. As you may possibly know, these books (namely Matthew, Mark, Luke) are called ''synoptic'', that is, they are ''viewed together''; or rather, these are a historical summary of the life, ministry and death of our Lord Jesus (the Gospel according to John is not regarded as synoptic because John was an ocular witness of most of our Lord's life). Each one of them wrote according to facts and through inspiration of the Holy Spirit (and this has brought much debates and ''attacks'' from Bible critics). Now, yes, we may conjecture that there was a possibility that our Lord Himself had recounted the event of His temptation to the Apostle Matthew, and such was not recorded (as many conversations that our Lord may have had with His disciples are not recorded), but all that is possibly known to a further extent is that these books were all composed in the latter part of the 1st century. I hope I have helped somehow, and there may also be someone that may give a better and more elaborated answer. Regards.
The account of Jesus’ temptation in the desert by the devil is found in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13 and Luke 4:1-13. None of these three accounts mentions anyone else present, nor does any other passage in the Bible. Therefore the only certain witnesses were Jesus himself, the devil, and God, who is omnipresent (everywhere present). There is no record of the devil ever telling Matthew, Mark or Luke about the details of this event. Furthermore, it is hard to imagine why he would do so, particularly since his attempts to tempt Jesus utterly failed, and since Jesus’ use of Scripture in overcoming temptation is quite instructive for us in how to deal with temptations. It is very unlikely the devil told anyone about this failure on his part. Since this event occurred just before Jesus began his public ministry, he had over three years to inform his disciples about it. It is very easy to imagine him at some point walking or sitting with his disciples, and relating to them the ways the devil tried to tempt him, and how he was able to overcome and repel those attacks. Surely this would be valuable instruction for them as they prepare for their own upcoming battles with evil. Since all three synoptic writers (as the Spirit carried them along) considered it important enough to include this material, it is reasonable that Jesus would have considered it important to tell them about it. Even if Jesus did not inform his followers about this encounter with the devil in the desert, there was one more witness, God himself. When each synoptic gospel author was writing his account, he was being “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21), so that his writing was “God-breathed” or “inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). God was certainly able to give special revelation to the writers of Scripture as they composed their “God-breathed” accounts. I don’t think we are able to determine precisely “who told Matthew” and the others about this encounter. But we have considered the possibilities. I suspect that Jesus himself told them, perhaps on more than one occasion, how the encounter transpired. Then after Jesus had ascended into heaven and the disciples were alone, it seems likely they discussed much of the material Jesus had related to them. Finally, when they wrote the gospel accounts, the Spirit of God carried them along as they penned the inspired text. [For further information about the inspiration of the Bible, I’m sure there are some good answers elsewhere on this eBible website.]
In my opinion, there are only two sources that Matthew could have gotten his information re: Jesus temptation by Satan in the wilderness from. There is no evidence anywhere in the Word that anyone was with Jesus at anytime, until the angels came and ministered to Him after "the devil left Him". (Matthew 4:11) With each temptation, Christ is taken and spoken to in the singular, and He responds to each temptation using only the weapon of the Word of God. He turns to noone else. It is totally necessary that Jesus was alone when these temptations occurred, for how much more power do we visualize in this human form of God, knowing that He withstood these very specific temptations, including one that would have given Him a way out of the road He was fixing to have to walk to Golgotha, completely alone and cut off from any help or support. It leaves us with an uncluttered and unquestionable view of the absolute authority of the living God-on-earth, Jesus Christ. It is also crucial to point out, that the temptation of Christ took place before Jesus chose the 12 disciples. Therefore, none of these could have been present for this event, as they were for everything that took place in the life of Christ afterwards. Jesus called certain disciples to be present all the way to Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-37) However, the temptation took place before Christ arrived in Galilee, the location where the first two disciples, Peter and Andrew, were chosen (Matthew 4:18-20). In conclusion, the only sources of Matthew's knowledge of the events and words spoken during this, one of the most amazing happenings in the life of our Savior, were either Christ Himself, in the flesh, or through the divine impartation of these events through the Holy Spirit to Matthew. Praise God, either way He chose to give this knowledge to Matthew, because without this inclusion in the Holy Scriptures, we would have never been able to see how to use the Word of God to accomplish victory over temptation, nor would we have seen the Son of God in His glorious completeness as our Victor over Satan. I purposefully kept my answer exclusively about Matthew, in order to answer the specifics of the question, however, the temptation of Christ can also be found in the gospels of Mark and John.
There are three theological views that would answer this question. The first view or theory is that Jesus may have disclosed his temptation experience to his disciples because there is no biblical record to suggest that anyone was present with him during the temptation period. Scripture explicitly mentions him alone. All indications point to the fact that Jesus may have been alone in the desert and all the synoptic Gospels agree that Jesus was first tempted before he launched His ministry and called His first disciples. Matthew records that Jesus started His ministry after the temptation (Matthew 4:12-17) and called His first disciples in Matthew 4:18. Matthew's account agrees with the sequence in Mark 1:12-18. and Luke 4:1-13, save for the variations in details. The disciples could therefore not have been present with Him during His temptation. Besides, Matthew was called into Jesus' ministry much later (Matthew 9:9) unless the writer was a different Matthew. Tradition clearly credits the Gospel to the same Matthew, the publican whom Jesus called into His ministry. Since the scriptures were complied long after Christ had ascended and probably after the Jerusalem church persecutions and dispersion [some scholars suggest the latter part of the 1st Century AD], it may be reasonable to assume that the temptation account may have been preserved as an oral tradition until the Gospels were written. The second view is that Jesus may not have disclosed to His disciples about the event but that the Holy Spirit revealed it to the Gospel writers as they wrote the scriptures decades later. This theory agrees with doctrine of inerrancy and inspiration of scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Some scholars have further argued that Matthew was dependent for much of his information on Mark’s Gospel and that his account may have been an edited version of Mark's account. That notwithstanding, the inerrancy of his work cannot be called into question. The third theory is to suppose that some unidentified people may have been with Jesus during his temptation [perhaps some personal aids or even his mother or John the Baptist]. We need to bear in mind that not every detail about Jesus and his works are recorded in the Gospels. John 21:25 declares that "...there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." The Gospel authors as indeed other Bible writers and chroniclers only focused on details that projected the principal character of their account or depicted the message they sought to present to their readers. For instance, we are not told of those who were present when Jesus was baptized by John. Does this suggest that there were no prominent family members who could have been mentioned? My view is that Jesus is the main character in the temptation account and the narrator chose to focuses on Him to the exclusion of others present [if any]. For example we do not have any account on Jesus' early life yet Jesus was not living in seclusion! The Gospel writers focused on His ministry period. So which is the most plausible theory that answers this question? My view is that Jesus may have disclosed to the disciples about His temptation experience just in the same way that He revealed Himself to them during His transfiguration and His ascension and shared many secrets of the Kingdom with them. However, it is most likely that if someone was present with Him during the 40 days, the writers did not consider it worthwhile to mention them. Suffice it however that whatever means God may have used to convey it, God's word is inspired of His Spirit and is reliable for our application.
Lets review what we know: 1) Jesus was a Torah observant Jew. 2) He studied to be a Rabbi. 3) He was not yet ordained when he attended the wedding in Canna. 4) His mother was aware of his supernatural powers. 5) Jesus appeared to be on a schedule following a typical life plan. 6) John the Baptist came from a prominent family. His father was a priest. 7) John, and his followers, acknowledged Jesus as being of "higher station" or Rabbinical authority than he was. (Recognized as a Rabbi) 8) John the Baptist was a sort of rock star in his day. 9) Jesus was recognized as a true protégé as early as 12 and would have been sought out by the best teachers in the Galilee. 10) Both Jesus and John were "liberal" rabbis in the vein of Hillel and John had similar confrontations with the Pharisees as Hillel did. 11) Jesus' fame had over 40days to spread among the common people, driven by John's endorsement. 12) Jesus' absence would have been noticed by John's followers and they would have been aware of his desert retreat. 12) After His 40 days in the desert Jesus returned to Nazareth. 13) John pointed out Jesus as "The Lamb" to his disciples apparently as HE was traveling from the desert back to HIS home town. 13) A short time after HIS return to Nazareth, John was arrested. 14) Jesus did some preaching there, was rejected and left his home and moved to Capernaum a short time later. 15) As Jesus was walking along the shore, he was definitely dressed and identifiable as a Rabbi, and one with sufficient authority, verified by John, to have business owners immediately drop their lives and follow HIM with the blessing of their father and family patriarch. 16) Jesus had a reputation before he began. Now imagine the events: Jesus is the guy that the biggest rock star of the time has announced in public he was there to serve. To make way for. This Rabbi was himself a mental and philosophical phenom in His own right with a reputation in influential circles and known to some to the Pharisees present. These same Pharisees were afraid of John and his influence with common people. Jesus is present at a scene where John the Baptist dresses down the leaders of the day, in front of a substantial crowd of his ardent supporters and other followers for being hypocrites and by extension contributing to their persecution. In contradistinction to Jesus who he indicates is superior to him in every way. This scene must have been electric for those present. Imagine Jesus is baptized after issuing instructions that are accepted by John who up until this point is their most important spiritual leader and revered by many far and wide as a prophet. Further, the crowd witnesses what they believe to be a supernatural event. With the dove, and the voice of GOD present at the scene. This is not your everyday pilgrimage. Then Jesus disappears into the desert. Jesus sure does know how to get people talking. There was a buzz. 2000 years later we are still talking about it. Consider John's followers and everyone they came into contact with after his arrest. Consider John telling his closest companions from his jail cell that Jesus was THE ONE. Imagine the urgent discussions when John was beheaded. As Jesus walked along the shore and called Peter, his brother was already aware as were other companions, Peter was ready......this was special. Certainly His friends and companions the Disciples would have been compelled to ask Him what happened in those 40 days when HE left everyone to wonder. They would have just had to know...open minded, amazed and curious....just the way HE wanted them to be.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.