Why did the Lord fast for 40 days when tempted by Satan?

Why did the Lord fast for 40 days when tempted by Satan?

Part of the answer to this question must lie in the significance of the number 40. The Lord tested Israel in the wilderness for 40 years (Deuteronomy 8:2). The rain came for 40 days in the Flood (Genesis 7:4). After 40 days, Noah tested to see if the waters had receded (Genesis 8:6). Moses’ 40 days on Sinai proved to be a test for the nation (Exodus 24:18; 32:1-8). The spies "tested" Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13:25). Goliath challenged Israel’s armies for 40 days (1 Samuel 17:16). Nineveh had 40 days, given by God to test its response to His Word (Jonah 3:4). So in the case of the Lord’s test or temptation, the Spirit associates with it the number 40.

When Ezekiel bore the iniquity of the house of Judah, God appointed his time as 40 days - a day for each year (Ezekiel 4:6). In the Lord’s temptation is there, then, a connection of the 40 years of Israel’s independence of God, living with abundance in the wilderness, but demonstrating their own sinful hearts? Now in the wilderness with nothing material to sustain Him, the Lord experiences hunger, yet remains fully dependent on His God ("It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," Matthew 4:4). The 40 days - a day for a year - demonstrated His perfection. He was the Firstborn (the Beloved, Matthew 3:17 with 4:1) Who gave the pleasure to God that the nation, God’s son, His firstborn (Exodus 4:22), failed to give during those 40 years. The fact that the Lord’s responses to Satan all came from Deuteronomy creates a further association between these two wilderness scenes.

D. Oliver