Scripture says Jesus was tempted in all points as us, yet without sin (Heb 4:15). This can’t mean that Jesus was tempted by every little thing that tempts us, because some temptations require mental disability (bestiality), other temptations may, when gathered together, be contradictory to experience at the same time (a homosexual man desiring more wives), or impossible altogether (incest without siblings). In other words, sin must be a prerequisite in order to experience certain particular temptations.
Therefore it must instead refer not to every individual fruit of temptation, but to the three branches that produce them: (1) the lust of the flesh, (2) the lust of the eyes, and (3) the pride of life (1 Jhn 2:16).
We don’t have to speculate how Jesus was tempted, because scripture tells us:
- The lust of the flesh is made manifest in the words, “Tell these stones to become bread.” (Mat 4:3)
- The lust of the eyes is made manifest in the words, “All these I will give you.” (Mat 4:9)
- The pride of life is made manifest in the words, “Throw yourself down, the angels will catch you.” (Mat 4:6)
No sin exists apart from these three types of temptations found in the world. Jesus didn’t have to overcome every expression of lust because he overcame the threefold fullness of temptation itself. Jesus didn’t have to partake of every rotting fruit of pride, because he cut down the tree.