We read in Mtt 4:1-4, of the Temptation of Jesus in the wilderness :

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

Here, we see the Devil using calculated words, i.e. "IF you are the Son of God......"In other words, the Devil was asking Jesus to disclose his divinity, as if he was not sure of whom he was tempting.

Elsewhere, we see Jesus forbidding his own disciples from telling others that he is the Messiah ( Mtt 16:20; Mk 8:30). That said, the Devil was presumably tempting Jesus to disclose his divinity much before the appointed time. But, the motifs of the First Temptation we have, are of stone and bread .

My question therefore, is: According to Catholic teachings, what was the First Temptation of Christ basically about ?

  • According to Catholicism, there are several takes on this. This is a very profound piece of Scripture.
    – Ken Graham
    Jan 27, 2022 at 14:25
  • A Catholic would say the Devil is a very good theologian: he definitely knows who he is tempting. He's happy to call Jesus the Son of God, but he never calls him the Son of Man. The Devil wants Jesus to mind his own business in Heaven, and to stay out of the Devil's business on Earth.
    – qxn
    Jan 27, 2022 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


According to Catholic teachings, what was the First Temptation of Christ basically about?

Anyone can quote Scripture. Even the devil does! But the difference between his misuse and Jesus’ use of Sacred Scripture is that Jesus isn’t just proof texting. He invokes an entire passages by quoting a single line of Scripture.

4 Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil.

2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry.

3 And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4 Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. - Matthew 4:1-4

Depending on the Catholic references you are looking for, one will find this passage of Scripture used to support the follow:

A present, I can not locate the reference, but there is source out there that mentions that the First Temptation (possibly a Church Farther) was involving bread (food) because if the Devil can not make a person succumb to temptation with the basic necessities for the body, future serious temptations will most likely be fruitless. Notice that Satan did not lower the Temptations to other sensuous types of desires of the flesh (physical comforts, drink, or companionship) but asked for highest proud full hope that Jesus would adore him as God instead.

Pinnacle of the temple

"If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, 'He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.'" (Luke 4:9–13) citing Psalms 91:12.


Satan says, "All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me." Jesus replies "Get away, Satan! It is written: 'You shall worship the Lord your God and only Him shall you serve.'"[46] (referencing Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20). Readers would likely recognize this as reminiscent of the temptation to false worship that the Israelites encountered in the desert in the incident of the Golden Calf mentioned in Ex. 32:4.

Temptation of Christ

The following may be of interest to some:

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