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I’m almost finished reading through Geerhardus Vos’ Biblical Theology and I wanted to cite a brief section about the purpose of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness, for brevity I’m not posting all that Vos says about Christ’s temptation in the wilderness, to read his full exposition see pg. 333-342 (of the Banner of Truth Edition) of Vos’ Biblical Theology Old and New Testaments:

The Lord’s Temptation and our own

“Our failure to gauge correctly the significance of the event springs to no small extent from the inclination and habit of finding in it an analogy primarilly to our own temptations.  This being so we take it too negatively, and do not sufficiently place it in a class by itself.  In our case temptation chiefly raises the question of how we shall pass through it and issue from it without loss.  In Jesus’ case, while this consideration was not, of course, absent, the higher concern was not avoidance of loss, but the procuring of positive gain.  And in order to see this we must compare it to the one previous occasion in Biblical History, when a procedure with an equally double-sided purpose had taken place, namely, the temptation of Adam related in Genesis, chapter 3.  Nor is this purely a theological construction on our part; Luke at least seems to have something of this kind in mind, when first carrying back the genealogy (in distinction from Matthew) to Adam, and then immediately subjoining to it this account of the probation of the Second Adam.  It should be remembered, however, that with the analogy there existed a difference between the two cases.  Adam began with a clean slate, as it were; nothing had to be undone, whilst in the case of Jesus all the record of intervening sin had to be wiped out, before the positive action for the procuring of eternal life could set in.  The clearest philosophy of this difference is given us by Paul in Romans 5 [cp. especially v.15].  This connection of the probation of Jesus with the atoning removal of pre-existing sin will likewise make plain to us that the temptation had to carry in itself for Jesus an element of suffering and humiliation on our behalf, and not merely the exertion of a strenuous will for obedience.  Here again there is a difference between Jesus’ temptation and ours.  To be tempted involves no special humiliation for us, because we are antecedently humiliated by the presence of sin in our hearts to which the solicitation merely has to address itself, which was quite different in the case of Jesus.  All that has been said does not take away the fact that there is an analogy between our temptation and that of Jesus…” Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology Old and New Testaments,  p.333 (Banner of Truth Edition)