Luke 4:13 (NIV) reads:

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him [Jesus] until an opportune time.

What is the Catholic interpretation of the phrase "until an opportune time"? We do not find explicit reference to Jesus getting tempted by the devil after the temptations in the wilderness. Is it that the devil was looking for opportunities, but did not find any? Or, is it that Jesus was frequently tempted to desert His mission all throughout His public life and on the cross? What are the Catholic teachings on such possibilities?

  • I'm not aware of any specific teachings offhand; however, from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, see the note to the New American Bible translation. – Matt Gutting Oct 30 '15 at 13:17
  • Jesus told Peter to "get behind me, Satan", when Peter was telling Jesus, "you won't die". Satan was tempting him through Peter, to enjoy a long life instead of giving up his life to die. – Matthias Oct 30 '15 at 18:09

The last paragraph of the note to Lk 4:1-13 in the Navarre Bible New Testament Compact Edition has:

Jesus defeats the devil here, as he will also do at "an opprtune time" (v.13), that is, in his passion and death (cf. the note on 22:1-6): his filial acceptance of the father's plans will liberate men from the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil (cf. Heb 2:14). Jesus' victory over the tempter serves to encourage his disciples: if they trust in God, they will be able to defeat all temptation.


For anything Catholic, and in general, I always recommend the Douay-Rheims bible. It's both less archaic and more accurate than the KJV. It also, of course, has the Deutero-Canonicals etc.

But even other bibles translate this differently from your bible (not having "until an opportune time").

Douay-Rheims: "And all the temptation being ended, the devil departed from him for a time"

Darby: "And the devil, having completed every temptation, departed from him for a time."

Even a more liberal/modern translation, like the ISV: "After the devil had finished tempting Jesus in every possible way, he left him until another time.

Other translations differ still, having it a "season" for which the Devil ceased tempting Our Lord:

ERV: "And when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him for a season."

All of this meaning the Devil didn't wait until an opportune or specific time per se, as if he was waiting for Christ to sit down in order to tempt Him or something, he is alays tempting everyone, most of the time. And Christ had a human nature, and so was vunerable -but nonetheless resistant to- any temptations the Devil could offer.


The Devil uses the same temptations in the desert as he did in the Garden and they are three:

  1. The Temptation of the flesh
  2. The Temptation of the Eyes
  3. The Pride of Life

The very Nature of Christ being 100% man, means that he had the same temptations throughout his life that each and everyone one of us do. What is different between Our Lord and Us is his ability to face those temptations without fault, where we fail, he succeeds.

In the Garden of Gethsemane The lord shows his weakness in the flesh asking God to take this burden from him. With perfect obedience the Word of God says only "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be Done"

Christ temptation came from without, not from within as his will was united with the devine will. Christ was free from all concupiscence.

  • 3
    Are you saying that "an opportune time" was "the time in the Garden"? It's hard to see that from your answer, and since the focus is on "what is that time", your answer should be focused on "this is what the Church teaches was 'the opportune time'." – Matt Gutting Oct 30 '15 at 13:26
  • @MattGutting No, not just then, but anytime an external force would tempt the flesh needs of our savior. He was Human, like us all, his will was perfect, temptation did not come from within but from outside and his flesh responded as all flesh does, but his will overcame the flesh in all instances. The opportune time, would be the next and then the next that the fallen world effected the flesh of the the lord who desired, no differently then anyone else, with a perfect will to counter those temptations. See Hebrew 4:15 – Marc Oct 30 '15 at 17:22
  • 2
    I don't see this clearly in your answer. It needs to reflect this. – Matt Gutting Oct 30 '15 at 18:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.