Baptism and Temptation of Jesus
(Sept. 2 to Oct. 20, 26 A.D.)

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Topics covered: Christ is baptized then begins his ministry by being tempted directly by Satan the devil for 40 days and nights.

Primary scriptures: Matthew 3:13 - 4:11, Mark 1:9 - 13, Luke 3:21 - 22, 4:1 - 13.

The gospel accounts reveal a basic framework of events with known dates that can greatly help us comprehend the events of Jesus' ministry and their relationship with one another. This outline, primarily centered on God's annual Feast (Holy) Days which Jesus and the early New Testament Church kept, allows us to construct a fairly accurate timeline from the Lord's baptism to his ascension to God's right hand.

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September 2 (Monday)
to 10 (Tuesday), 26 A.D.

Birthday and Baptism

On Monday, September 2 Jesus turns thirty years old. This is the most important birthday in his entire life, as thirty was the Biblical age when a priest could begin to serve God (see Numbers 4:3, 23, 47).

The Lord, after turning this momentous age, travels from his boyhood home of Nazareth (Mark 1:9) to Bethabara (John 1:28) to be baptized. It is the place where John the Baptist, for the past six months, has been calling for people to repent of their sins and be baptized (John 1:19 - 27).

Interestingly, John does not know in advance who exactly is the Messiah (John 1:31, 33). God has told him, however, to look for a special sign denoting who is His only Son. This sign (likely only visible to John), which will occur after the baptism, will be the Holy Spirit descending out of heaven and remaining on the person (ultimately Jesus).

John witnesses the sign of the Messiah immediately after the baptism when Jesus comes up from the Jordan River (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10). He sees God's spirit, like a dove, descend and remain upon Christ (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:21 - 22, John 1:32 - 34). John then hears a voice from heaven which says the following.

This is My Son, the Beloved, in Whom I have great delight (Matthew 3:17, see also Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22).

This marks the first time God the Father (likely through an angel, since no one has heard his actual voice at any time - see John 5:37), from heaven, audibly confirms Jesus is His Son and endorses His ministry.

God's spirit, after his baptism, leads Jesus to travel from Bethabara south, along the eastern side of the Jordan, all the way down to the Judean wilderness located on the western side of the Dead Sea (Matthew 3:13 - 17, Mark 1:9 - 11, Luke 3:21 - 22).

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September 11
26 A.D.

Tested in the Wilderness

Jesus arrives in the Judean wilderness and begins his forty days of fasting which kicks off his ministry. During this period he will experience unparalleled temptations at the hands of God's great adversary. His fast, and the devil's forty-day long marathon to tempt him, likely began on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) which occurred on Wednesday, September 11.

September 11 is especially appropriate for the beginning of Jesus' awesome struggle as it was also the start of the 50th or Biblical Jubilee Year that was to be heralded on the Day of Atonement. The Jubilee year is a time when liberty from debt, servitude and loss was to be proclaimed throughout the land (see Leviticus 25 and 27).

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September 11 (Wednesday)
to October 20 (Sunday) 26 A.D.

Fasting and Temptations

Both Matthew and Luke each list three specific temptations, directed at our Savior, toward the end of his fast. Satan's last subtle lies were chosen to appeal to any human-based weaknesses and desires Jesus might choose to indulge (Matthew 4:1 - 11, Mark 1:12 - 13, Luke 4:1 - 13).

The first of the devil's last three temptations centered around trying to get Jesus to prove he was God in the flesh by immediately alleviating his hunger through a miracle (Matthew 4:3 - 4, Luke 4:3 - 4). His next temptation was to challenge the Lord to prove his Father's love by jumping off a high location to see if he would be kept from injury (Matthew 4:5 - 7, Luke 4:9 - 12).

The last, and perhaps greatest, temptation that came to Christ was to forego the prophetic trials, pain and tortuous death that awaited him and instead immediately rule over mankind. The "catch" was that he had to worship the devil as if he were god and serve him instead of his Father.

After that, the devil took Him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and said to Him, "All these things will I give You, if You will fall down and worship me."

Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve.'" (Matthew 4:8 - 10, see also Luke 4:5 - 8).

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October 20
26 A.D.

The Trial Ends . . . for Now

Satan's concentrated temptations finally ended on Sunday, October 20, exactly forty days after they began. The devil, of course, continues his laser-focused attempt to tempt Christ to sin a short time later.

After overcoming the temptation of the adversary, the "god of this world" (John 12:31, 2Corinthians 4:4) Jesus, in a weakened physical state, is ministered to by angels (Matthew 4:11, Mark 1:13). After what was likely a few days of regaining his strength, he makes the journey back to Bethabara and arrives there near the end of October (John 1:28).

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Previous    -    Next

Timeline of Jesus' Life and Ministry
Conception and Birth of Jesus
Christ's Early Life
Baptism and Temptation
The First Miracle at Cana
Jesus Reveals He Is the Messiah
The Sermon on the Mount
Confronting Religious Leaders
Preaching, Parables and Miracles
Miraculously Feeding the Masses
The Transfiguration
Training the Disciples for Evangelism
A Final Visit to Capernaum
The Last Trips Before Crucifixion
Jesus' Last Days, Death, Resurrection
Christ's Ministry after His Resurrection