Was Jesus ‘Set Up’ By God?

A Confession

Let me make a little confession to you:

I didn’t want to write this post.

I didn’t want to ask this question.

I ignored it for two weeks but it wouldn’t go away.

And when I finally wrote it, I wasn’t going to post it.

I struggled. Seriously! I had some good reasons too:

  • It didn’t feel ‘natural’
  • It questioned my theology (at least at face value)
  • It made me uncomfortable
  • God would NEVER set His Own Son up for this (would HE?)

So I decided I was done with struggling and hit the Throne Room. I got my answers!

What’s Your Theology?

Let me ask you the same question I wrestled with:

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

“Was Jesus intentionally ‘set up’ by God?”

What is your theology on Matthew 4:1? Leave your comments here.

About Joseph Iregbu

I'm a writer, purpose guy, speaker and business consultant. My passion is to help people live with purpose and not waste their lives. I live in the UK with my wife, Temi and our gorgeous Isabel Juda. Let's connect on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Enoba ogbole

    The scriptures are written for one by the inspiration of God and they are written for our examples, so God being all knowing already knew Jesus would overcome those temptations, but I believe it was necessary he went through them so that we, God’s children learn and know that truly with every temptation God provides a way of escape for his children. So whAt I believe is that it was not a set-up, but actual example that every child of God can escape every temptation.

    • Thanks Enoba for sharing. Would you say this experience was more for us than it was for Jesus Himself?

  • Prince

    I’m thinking of the case of Job. The whole predicament was a ploy of Satan to get him to stumble
    If I’m correct, the passage here didnt give a light on what’s up in the Spiritual realm. For all it’s worth, Satan could have approached God the Father and thrown a challenge of the possibility of rubbishing the salvation plan by causing Jesus to stumble, and God being so sure of his Son permitted it.
    And the question could thus go, Can God be so confident of our love for him that he would brag about us to the devil? (of-course, there is grace available)

    The other way I see it has to do with the fact that; All that Jesus did while on earth, he did in his capacity as a man. As such, he had to go through this temptations as an example for men that what God expects of us is not impossible.
    1Peter 5:8 lets us realise that the power, devil has over us, is that which we give to him in our carelessness, and so Jesus gave us an example of how to make sure we give no room to the devil when he comes knocking.
    So, going by the definition of set-up:”
    To put (someone else) into a compromising situation by deceit or trickery ” Was Jesus Set-Up by God? Capital NO, because by the term Set-up, you would be saying God perhaps expected Jesus to fall and fail.
    But did God allow Jesus to be tempted knowing fully well he’ll triumph, I’d say Yes
    My tuppence worth!

    • Prince, you should guest post this epistle next time 🙂
      So Jesus didn’t chose ths moment, rather it was chosen for Him? Isn’t that a light reference to ‘Set Up’, taking all the negative connotations out?
      Appreciate your perspective.

  • Addy

    nice one !!

  • Issues Of Life

    The Holy Spirit did lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, but this is no more alarming than the fact that God sent Christ into the world to die. His redemptive mission involved a sacrificial death, and the road to Calvary was paved with suffering, testing, and temptation, through which Jesus was perfected, or qualified, to serve as high priest for humanity (Heb. 2:10).

    • Wow, I’ve never thought of it in that sense. Flesh and blood has not revealed that to you. Awesome! Worth a follow up post.

      • Issues Of Life

        Also, looking at the other synoptic gospels like Mark and Luke’s accounts, we see their write-up were not exactly the same as Matthew’s. God definitely doesn’t tempt only the devil does. (James 1:14)

        It is also important to note that the Holy spirit did not lead him into temptation instead he was led to the wilderness. Although, God knew the devil would use it as an opportunity to tempt Christ. However, the temptation was needed to qualify Christ to die for man-kind.

        I look forward to seeing your interpretation 🙂

  • God is sovereign and utilizes even this situation to fulfill His purposes.  As someone previously brought forth from James, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (1:13)
    I also think of 1Peter3:18-20 where Jesus proclaims His victory over evil in spite of His death, which was negated by the Spirit’s indwelling of continuous life. 
    I think of it like this: although not “set up” or even tempted by God, Jesus was placed in a situation that created inevitable victory. 
    Personally, I am reminded in Matthew 4:1 how no element of the enemy’s arsenal can defeat Christ. This temptation was just a precursor to the ultimate victory–overcoming death. In Christ I am victorious and in Christ I am born again. I will be allowed to be tempted and with Christ I cannot lose…my body will eventually die but I will live on. In Christ. 

    • This is one of the most concise, yet powerful responses I’ve read of on this topic. I absolutely love the words and thought: “Jesus was placed in a situation that created inevitable victory”
      Thanks for sharing, Wright.

  • Great question to ask and study. This does cover finding purpose in pain, Job’s predicament and God’s sovereignty. Jesus was fully man and fully God. Hebrews 4:12 talks of Jesus as High Priest, tempted but yet did not sin. James says God never changes.

    Jesus started his ministry through baptism, the Spirit descended upon Him at that moment and God said, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. After that He was led up of the Spirit into wilderness – and we are told the purpose was to be tempted of the devil.

    I think a question we should rightly ask was Jesus “compelled forcibly against his will to go there” or “was He
    inclined to go there by the Spirit, or that the Spirit of God,
    for important purposes, caused him to go.” (Words borrowed from Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

    Mark 1:12 says, “And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.”
    This is what Wesley notes commentary draws from this verse: So in all the children of God, extraordinary manifestations of his favour are wont to be followed by extraordinary temptations.

    I think we should also draw reference with the First Adam’s temptation in the garden. Gladly waiting to hear the answers you got.

    • I like a keyword you’ve used there: Purpose! I hope to share it in a follow up post. So far, God’s been leading me in a different direction but I will surely get back to this. Loving the discussion.

      •  Awesome. Loving the discussion as well. I am looking forward to the insights you will share in the follow up post. Be blessed!

        • 🙂 Pray that insight and utterance be given me.

  • Ian

    Why would God set up someone when the creator would all ready know the intentions. I believe humanity has been had and kept in a trap and a story was created to keep us trapped. You have to go way back to ancient times after the fall of the great lands of Mu and Atlantis this is when an alien reptilian race took over the planet, altered the DNA of humans and shortened their lives from hundreds of years to 70 and we have been trapped ever since wit created religions and false gods the history is there staring us in the face if we have eyes to see. Yes great people like Jesus came to help humanity but he was taken out by this reptilian evil, if you look back through history the story of a great being born in December 25 has been repeated time and time again then the question is why would a loving God allow the terrible evil to exist on this planet? we are told we have free will but that was shut down and we only have limited free will as laws are created to protect the ruling elite and to shut us down if we protest. Yes there is a master mind a creator or we and nothing could exist this creator is like the ocean of which everything is part of and we are like a droplet of water. We are told the illusion that God will come and save us from this hell, we are the only ones who can save ourselves by waking up and if we do not the alien reptilian race that has held us prisoners and feeding us twisted stories of hope and salvation will continue it is these rat bags who are the false Gods of worship which we can find throughout history in every country it is the division of these belief system that helps to create wars. The facts this planet is a low 3rd dimensional planet in this galaxy it is the third most evil. I would hat to see what the others are like There is a creator not an old man sitting on a throne directing judgement but a force of knowledge and love which everything in the galaxies cam from. I like churches especially ancient ones regardless of religions and they should be used to help and protect the poor but look at most religions which have fantastic wealth why others are starving where is the God in them? The idea of Satan the devil exist and this being is one of the evil reptilian aliens God and goodness comes from peoples heart the good that they do, not from a church. If humanity is to break free from this prison planet they need to rise above the lies they have been brainwashed to believe and do their research as knowledge is power and it will set you three and it is humanity who if they wake up can set themselves free, then you will see who and what this wicked being the devil really is and the dark forces that control this planet.