4:1 tempted. Jesus was God incarnate, and “God cannot be tempted with evil” (James 1:13). Although both Father and Son knew He could not sin, He must be “tested” (a better connotation of the word than “tempted”), so that the world and the devil would also know.
4:1 devil. The devil had tempted Eve and (indirectly) Adam with a three-fold temptation, in body, soul and spirit (“good for food,” “pleasant to the eyes,” “make one wise”—Genesis 3:6), and they had failed the test. All other men would fail the same test, succumbing to “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16). Jesus, as Son of man, was subjected to the same three-fold testing and passed the test. Furthermore, He did it in His humanity, without recourse to His power as Son of God, and He did it—as we can—through believing and applying the resources of God’s written word.
4:4 It is written. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3. This testing targeted His urgent physical need, the second (Matthew 4:6) appealed to His human desire for recognition and approval, which He turned back by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16. Finally, the third testing (Matthew 4:9) offered the immediate attainment of His spiritual goal of making the entire world His own kingdom of peace and love, but He refuted this by referring to Deuteronomy 10:20. It is noteworthy that, in Matthew’s gospel alone, Jesus quotes from the Old Testament at least thirty-nine times.
4:6 it is written. Satan also knows the Scriptures, but he will attempt to distort them to his own ends. Here he quotes from Psalm 91:11-12, but takes it out of context, and omits the key phrase, “to keep thee in all thy ways.”
4:9 worship me. Satan desires to displace God and receive the worship due only to Him. This was the occasion of His own fall from heaven in the first place (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-19). He still harbors the delusion that this is possible, and has managed to delude Adam and Eve and countless others in similar fashion, but He was unable to deceive Jesus.