The Temptation of Jesus

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 05 - Jesus' Preparation for Ministry

TEXT: Matthew 4:1-11


The students will be able to describe the temptation of Jesus by Satan, and explain how He was victorious through the Word.


Introduction: Give each student in your class a paper shield as described under In-Class Activities.

Progression of Events:

  1. Jesus set an example for us in how to resist the devil.
  2. Jesus fasted and prayed for forty days.
  3. The devil tempted Him three times, and each time Jesus resisted by using the Word of God.
  4. The devil departed from Him.

Climax: Jesus was tempted just as we are, but He withstood temptation.

Conclusion: We can follow His example and resist temptation by using the Word of God.

Response: The students will be able to use the example of Jesus to tell how to overcome temptation. They will be able to list some temptations common to our day and suggest Scriptures to combat these.


Even though Jesus had felt the anointing of the Spirit and heard His Father's confirmation that He was indeed the beloved and pleasing Son of God (Matthew 3:16-17), His preparation for ministry was not yet complete. Immediately after His baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the lonely desert to be tempted by Satan.

Was Jesus really the Son of God? Did He have the power to do the work of God? Was He able to be the perfect Sacrifice as God had ordained? These are the points at which Satan directed his attack. Jesus did not face these temptations without much suffering, yet He overcame. As Hebrews 2:18 and 4:15 state, "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to  succour them that are tempted," and "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Satan, in fact, was tempting Jesus to assume His place as King of kings and bypass all the suffering that lay ahead of Him if He was also to be mankind's Redeemer. Adam yielded to Satan, causing the sentence of death to be passed on all, but Jesus Christ overcame Satan and gives the hope of eternal life to those who believe (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Jesus had been born in Bethlehem, lived in Nazareth for thirty years and suffered temptation out in the desert. He had experienced all that men experience and was indeed a man. From a child He had proven Himself to be different (Luke 2:49). He had been anointed with the Spirit and heard His Father speak from Heaven. He had now proved Himself to be the sinless Son of God.


  • For each child, cut out a circle from yellow construction paper. Paint a smiling face on it. Mount it in the center of a white piece of paper. Across the top of the display print "Overcome Satan Through God's Words" in large letters (see Patterns). Let your students glue on speech balloons of a contrasting color with a word on each—Faith, Truth, Forgiveness, Love, Praise.
  • Make a Bible out of black and white construction paper for each student. On each page, let students write a Scripture. Select Scriptures that would apply to resisting temptation, and talk about the verse and how it can be used as they copy it into their "Bibles." Be sure to include the memory verse.
  • Use a tape recording to simulate the voice of temptation. Have it make suggestions that are wrong. In between each suggestion turn off the tape and discuss with your class the best way to resist that temptation.
  • Show the class a caricature sketch of the devil (see Patterns). Talk about how people often picture him as red, with horns, a pitchfork, a tail and cloven hoofs. Explain that in reality, the devil comes in many disguises.
  • Have a candy bar or a sticker on the table where students can see it. Arrange ahead of time for one student to pretend to steal it while you are busy with roll taking or other class activities. Use this action as a springboard for talking about temptation.
  • Have your students participate in thinking up a good definition for the words temptation and sin. Write the words and the definitions on a chalkboard or poster board.
  • Focus on the words, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Teach the children how this phrase can be used as a weapon to defeat Satan. Have the children write the words on a shield labeled "God's Word" (see Patterns).


  1. Did Jesus ever even consider worshipping Satan?
  2. What did Jesus use to rebuke Satan?
  3. What will help us live victoriously?
  4. How does the devil tempt us?
  5. What can we do about it?
  6. What does the word resist mean?
  7. What are some of the temptations we might face?
  8. How can we resist these temptations?
  9. Why is it important to resist temptations?
  10. How is Jesus' example of resisting the devil a method we can use too?
  11. What are some Scripture verses you know that might help you in resisting the devil?


  • For small children, your emphasis will likely be the thought of obedience, which is easier for the small child to understand than temptation.
  • Give each child heart faces glued to a popsicle stick. One side should be a happy face, one side a sad face. Act out several mini-skits with dolls or finger puppets, depicting good or bad behavior. Let the children hold up the happy side when the behavior is good and would make Jesus happy, and the sad side when it is not.
  • Use dolls or puppets to present several situations which would be examples of temptation on a beginner's level. Examples: taking a cookie, not minding, not sharing, etc. Be sure to also present some positive situations where the character does right.


Show the children by the use of puppets or a doll what a conscience is. Have God talking to the doll about something he should do but then have the devil talking on the other side trying to persuade him not to listen to God. Liken the lesson to Jesus' temptation. Use ideas that coincide with the problems children have and problems they are faced with at school or home.

Jesus was victorious because of His Father's help and the Word of God in His heart. He quoted Scriptures to the devil just as we are able to do when we are tempted. Prepare some questions where memory verses from recent lessons (or from verses well known to the children) give the answer. For example, Should we steal? Answer: No, "Thou shalt not steal." Emphasize how our memory verses teach us what is right and wrong and will help us do right when we are tempted to do wrong.


  • "Early Life of Jesus" — Pict-o-graph, Standard Publishing