The story of the temptation of Jesus is full of problems, as follows:
1. It is only mentioned in Mark, Matthew, and Luke, but not in John.
John wrote at a later date and did not encumber his Gospel with what was already fully documented in the Gospels written before his. John wrote with a specific purpose and organized his content accordingly:
Joh 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
Joh 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Therefore, this objection is invalid and a mere rationalization which ignores the evidence in the New Testament.
2. It supposedly happened after Jesus went into the desert and fasted for 40 days- a very unlikely occurrence and likely not survivable.
Jesus by trade was a carpenter, a young man of about thirty years of age, and without question in excellent physical health. There is no reason to doubt the account as given. This objection also is a mere rationalization advanced to assert a viewpoint contrary to the historical record given in the New Testament.
3. It involves the physical appearance of Satan and a highly unlikely conversation between the two.
Such an objection reflects the mere unbelief of those who deny the existence of the supernatural. It is, once again, a rationalization not based upon the facts presented in the historical record of the New Testament and the Bible as a whole.
4. It speaks of being on a tall mountain such that Jesus could see all of the kingdoms of the world, something that might make sense on a flat earth.
Such an objection assumes the objector knows more about what happened and where it took place than is revealed in the account itself. According to John 3:13 Jesus spoke of himself as being on earth and in heaven at the same time. If Jesus (John 1:48, 49) could see Nathaniel before they met for the first time and tell Nathaniel where he was in a manner that brought Nathaniel immediately to full faith in Jesus because of this fact, there is no reason to doubt Satan could show Jesus the kingdoms of the world of that day from whatever mountaintop he chose to do so.
5. It clearly lacked any witnesses other than Jesus and Satan.
To accept the implied problem requires that we must accuse Jesus and the Gospel writers of being untruthful, something even the enemies of Jesus were challenged on the spot to do, a challenge they could not meet.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Joh 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
Joh 8:47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
6. Jesus is tempted to worship Satan, but since Jesus was divine, such would not be a valid temptation, because Jesus could have attained everything Satan offered (turning stones into bread, jumping off the mountain safely, and taking over the kingdoms of the world) without needing to worship him.
From the record of the temptation itself and from the record in the rest of the Bible regarding the character and purpose of Satan himself, there is no reason to believe that Satan did not intend to cause our Lord Jesus Christ to fail at the very outset of His ministry. Satan chose what he knew would be the most opportune time to tempt Jesus–when Jesus would be weakened from His forty days of fasting. Yet Jesus “passed the test,” and so showed that He was fully qualified to do the work God appointed for Him to do.
If you acknowledge that Jesus was divine, then aware of this fact taught in the New Testament, you can hardly with any consistency put forth the kind of objections to the New Testament account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as you have posted here.
“It is unfortunate for Christianity that this mythical episode was documented in the gospels. It strains credulity, and it is not necessary to the overall message of the gospels. It does nothing to enhance the image of Jesus. Furthermore, it telegraphs the fact that other stories in the gospels are likely mythical- even those that otherwise sound plausible.”
There is no basis in fact to suppose that the record of the temptation of Christ is merely a “mythical episode.” It hardly “telegraphs the fact that the other stories in the gospels are likely mythical.” Luke begins his Gospel account with a statement that flatly contradicts such a notion:
Luk 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
Luk 1:2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
Luk 1:3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
Luk 1:4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
Luke continues his accounting in the book of Acts with this statement:
Act 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Act 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
Act 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
Jesus Christ showed Himself alive after his physical death and bodily resurrection from the dead on the third day “by many infallible proofs.”
That rather firmly settles the question.