What is the main issue in the Temptation narrative? Is it about Yeshua’s messianic mission? Or is it something else?
Aside from the many connections to Moses’ and Israel’s story, the temptation account definitely has a message about Yeshua’s identity. Is it what people think? R.T. France in the New International Commentary on the New Testament series is most helpful.
Some have argued that the temptation centers around Yeshua’s messianic mission:
…(1) if Yeshua could make bread he could get followers
…(2) if he survived a fall from the Temple, this sign would get followers
…(3) if he accepted Satan’s offer of transfer of kingship now, Yeshua could reign as Messiah early.
France says no, that is not it.
It is about Yeshua’s relationship to the Father and the tempter trying to drive a wedge between them:
…(1) Will Yeshua exploit his role as the Son of God? Will he put an early end to the time of testing by making bread from stones?
…(2) Will he require the Father to save him from a fall, pridefully asserting his right as the Son?
…(3) Will he skip the hard road to kingdom decreed by the Father and take a transfer of kingship directly from Satan?
As France observes, Yeshua will face similar temptations as the time of the cross draws near and while he is on the cross.