Matthew 4:1-25 - Outline of Matthew (Book Notes menu page)
4:1. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Jesus... tempted...-
He was born to 'save His people from their sins' (Mat 1:21). But could He be induced to sin?
He was born to be King (2:2). But could some enemy defeat Him?
Could Jesus have fallen into sin?
No! (See Joh 14:30; Heb 7:26)
Then was this a 'temptation' for Him?
The word 'tempt' also means 'test' or 'prove.'
  • Jesus was tested (far beyond our limits) to demonstrate that He could not be broken. cp. Heb 4:15, '...yet without sin.'
  • The 'first Adam' failed the test. He was lord of the whole earth (except for one tree).
    But when he placed himself above the expressed will of God, he fell, bringing ruin upon himself and the whole human race. Ever since, mankind has needed a Savior and King. But 'no man was found worthy'... except Jesus. (cp. Rev 5:2-5)
Satan used three distinct approaches to tempt Adam & Eve (in Genesis 3).
Today, all men are still susceptible to the same types of temptations. (See 1John 2:16.)
Though He was tested 'in all points... as we are,' Jesus is the only man in whom no sin was found. Therefore, He is uniquely able to lead us to victory over temptation. (Heb 2:18; Heb 4:15,16)
4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said,
If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4:4 But he answered and said,
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
he was hungred... bread...-
Satan appealed, first, to 'the lust of the flesh' (1Joh 2:16).
Note the parallel to the first temptation in the garden of Eden:
-- 'Eve saw that the tree was good for food.' Gen 3:6
when he had fasted forty days...- Jesus was physically at His extremity.
What could be wrong with taking a meal, if it was in His power to do so?
if thou be the Son of God...-
If He had satisfied His physical hunger, acting from the will of the flesh, independent of His Father, He would have disqualified Himself as the Son of God. Joh 5:19; 8:28
it is written...- Jesus answered human reasoning with God's written Word.
God's Word is true. It is the standard by which to judge the thoughts of my fleshly mind, and the whisperings of Satan. Even in the depths of physical weakness, Jesus perfectly discerned God's Word from conflicting voices. shall... live... by every word... of God.- (quoting Deu 8:3)
The Holy Spirit had led Him into the wilderness to fast. He would not break His fast. He would trust God to provide for His Son, in His time and way.
True life is found in submission to the One who is Life. Joh 4:34; cp. 10:27,28
4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city {ie., Jerusalem},
and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down:
for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee:
and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up,
lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
4:7 Jesus said unto him,
It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
cast thyself down... angels... shall bear thee up...-
Satan appealed to 'the pride of life' (1Joh 2:16).
His argument is that Jesus would gain public recognition from such a miraculous demonstration.
Note the parallel to Eden: Eve saw that the fruit was 'to be desired to make one wise.' Gen 3:6
it is written...- Satan used scripture to substantiate his appeal (misquoting Psa 91:11,12).
Note that he twisted scripture to suit his purpose, omitting several important words.
The ministry of angels is not so much for physical protection but "to keep thee in all thy ways" (ie., in the way of obedience to the Lord. cp. Ex 23:20-22).
it is written again...- Jesus answered the misuse of scripture with scripture.
...thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.- (quoting Deu 6:16)
The quoted passage refers to Massah, where the people of Israel, driven by impatient unbelief, were ready to take matters into their own hands (Ex 17:1-7).
     It is not for me to bypass His will, His way, His time... Rather, it is for me to trust Him to exalt His Son, in due time. To 'test God' with my presumptive, self-serving actions would provoke His just anger. cp. Heb 3:7-12
4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain,
and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee,
if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan:
for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
all these things will I give you, if...-
Satan appealed to 'the lust of the eyes' for 'the things that are in the world' (1Joh 2:15,16).
Parallel to Eden: Eve saw that the fruit 'was pleasant to the eyes.' (Gen 3:6)
the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them.-
Satan offered Jesus a shortcut to power.
Christ will reign over these, but in God's time and way. Rev 11:15
Did Satan have authority to give these things away?
He is the god of this world. Many do his bidding in exchange for earthly reward. 2Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2
But his kingdom is temporary. 1Joh 2:17
it is written...- Jesus rejects the false god and his world, by quoting Deu 6:13,14.
...thou shalt worship the Lord thy God...- worship {GK= proskuneo, to kiss the hand, to do obeisance}
...Him only shalt thou serve.- serve {GK= latreuo, to render service, to discharge priestly duties}
All of earth's treasures cannot compare to the glory of the Lord. Mat 16:26,27
4:11 Then the devil leaveth him,
and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
{cp. Luk 4:13}
the devil left Him.- Did Jesus use powers unique to Emmanuel to escape Satan's snare?
No. He used the Word of God, which is available to the humblest believer.
Note that Jesus quoted verses from Deuteronomy ch. 6 and 8.-
  1. This is the central passage of Jewish worship. (See Deu 6:4,5)
    He could not have chosen passages that were more well known. They were available to every sincere believer.
  2. Deuteronomy was one of the first books to be attacked by scholars of the so-called 'higher criticism,' which casts doubt upon the authority of Scripture, by questioning its authorship and authenticity,
         This was Satan's ploy in the garden: 'Yea, hath God said...?' (Gen 3:1)
    Jesus authenticated these passages, referring to them as 'the Word of God' (v.4).
Our weakness in the Christian life can usually be traced to ignorance of, and disregard for, God's Word. In ourselves, we cannot discern good from evil. We need 'the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,' if we are to 'submit to God' and 'resist the devil.' Eph 6:10-18; Jam 4:7
4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, {cp. Mark 6:17; Luk 3:19,20}
he departed into Galilee;
{See Luk 4:14-31, which fits here, chronologically}
4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum,
which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim,
[by] the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light;
and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
Capernaum - Having been rejected in His home town of Nazareth,
Jesus made Capernaum His headquarters for His ministry in Galilee.
Zabulon... Naphtali - When the people of Israel entered the land of Canaan
(following the Exodus from Egypt) the land was divided between the 12 tribes. These two tribes received their inheritance in the region just to the west of the Sea of Galilee. (Josh 19:10,32)
that it might be fulfilled...- quoting from Isaiah 9:1,2.
  • This prophecy speaks of the future day, when the Messiah will reign from David's throne, and free Israel from the nations that oppress her (see Isa 9:1-7). Galilee 'of the gentiles' was so called because it had been occupied by Assyria at the time of the captivities (when Isaiah wrote). In Jesus' day, it was still overrun with gentiles, as a resort area for the Roman Empire. The establishment of Christ's kingdom awaits His second coming.
  • At His first coming, the Lord Jesus shined as the Light among those in the darkness of sin. The King was present. He was enlightening His people as He proclaimed the purposes of God, as prophesied in His Word. Isa 42:6,7; cp. Joh 1:4,5; 8:12; 12:35-37
    Then, as now, many refused to see.
4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say,
Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
This is the message that John the Baptist preached. Mat 3:1,2
John's ministry pointed to 'He who comes after me.' 3:11,12
Now, the King Himself speaks of the Kingdom, urging men to prepare.
The kingdom is 'at hand' because the King is present and passing by.
From that time...- this phrase is an important marker in Matthew, occurring twice:
  1. Here, Jesus begins to offer Himself as the King of Israel.
  2. In 16:21, the King, rejected by Israel, turns toward the work of His cross.
4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren,
Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother,
casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
4:20 And they straightway left [their] nets, and followed him.
4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren,
James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother,
in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
Peter, Andrew, James and John were already disciples of Jesus,
for John the Baptist had pointed them to Him. (cp. Joh 1:35-42, where John refers to himself anonymously)
Here, Jesus calls them to service. (cp. Mark 1:16-20; Luk 5:1-11)
Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.- (cp. Joh 12:26; 2Cor5:18-21)
Apprenticed to Jesus, these men will be prepared for a new life work.
     God's call to service may require a change of profession. Eg., God called Moses from tending sheep (Ex 3:1,10), Gideon from threshing wheat (Judg 6:11), Elisha from plowing a field (1Kin 19:19), David from the sheepfolds (Psa 78:70,71), Matthew (formerly called Levi) from collecting taxes (Mark 2:14)...
On the other hand, God may want you to serve Him, right where you are. cp. 1Cor 7:20-24
4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,
and preaching the gospel of the kingdom,
and healing all manner
{ie., all forms} of sickness
and all manner of disease among the people.
4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria:
and they brought unto him all sick people
that were taken with divers diseases and torments,
and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick,
and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people
from Galilee, and [from] Decapolis,
and [from] Jerusalem, and [from] Judaea, and [from] beyond Jordan.
teaching in their synagogues...- The synagogue service always included the 'Shema,'
the central creed of Judaism, in which God called His people to make Him the focus of their lives. (see Deu 6:4-9; 11:13-21; Num 15:37-41)
In harmony with this creed, Jesus' teaching (as sampled in the Sermon on the Mount, ch. 5-7)...
  • emphasized the need for... inner truth in contrast to external appearance,
    ...'true religion' as opposed to external ritual, and
  • pointed to Himself as... the fulfiller of God's Law, purposes, and promises,
    ...the restorer of that which we have lost. (Luk 4:16-21)
    In the preceding reference, Jesus was reading aloud from (Isa 61:1-3). Jesus purposely stopped in the middle of this passage, for He would fulfill that portion, in His death and resurrection. He will fulfill the remainder when He comes again.
the gospel of the kingdom - is the good news that His Kingdom is at Hand (v.17).
The gospel of the Kingdom is distinct from the gospel of our Salvation. cp. 1Cor 15:1-4
While the Kingdom was near, in the Person of the King, His people must be prepared to enter it. He knew His rejection was a necessity, for there could be no salvation from sin, apart from His crucifixion. cp. Joh 12:24,32,33; Isa 53:10; 1Pet 3:18
healing {every} disease - Some say we should expect widespread healing today
because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8).
     Yes, Jesus Christ is now, and will always be, the source of life and health for those who come to Him. That is true. But 'today' is neither 'yesterday' nor 'forever.' Physical healing is a phenomenon relating to the physical presence of the King. Today's Gospel relates first to the salvation of sinners from the penalty and power of sin. When the King returns for believers, He will 'change our vile bodies' and there will be no more sickness. cp. Php 3:20,21; Rev 21:4 [McGee]
great multitudes of people...-
Many preachers become puffed up with pride, in the midst of such popularity.
But Jesus knew that the crowd was fickle, and that they came for cures, and out of curiousity (cp. Joh 2:23-25).
Yet, while He had their ears, He spoke the Word which they needed to hear, concerning His Kingdom...

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