Matthew Chapter 4
The Temptation of Jesus:
(Read Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).
Following the baptism, Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. It was to prove that Jesus was without sin and that he is able to resist temptation in his human nature. Jesus said that "Satan had nothing in him" (John 14:30). Sin is rebellion against God. Out in the wilderness, Satan tried to persuade Jesus to rebel against God in the areas of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15). Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights. His physical hunger serves as the setting for the first temptation. Satan asked him to meet his basic human need by turning the stone into bread. Jesus refused to use his divine power to do something that benefits him. Jesus replied, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 6:3). His source of strength was the Word of God. In the second temptation Jesus was urged to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple. Satan quoted Psalms 91:11-12 to seduce Jesus to disobey the Father. He was tempted to commit the presumptuous sin against God. Satan tried to bring doubts even by misquoting God’s Word. Jesus silenced Satan by saying “It is written, you shall not tempt the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 6:16). The third temptation takes place on a very high mountain. Satan has shown Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He promised to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would worship him. Satan is the prince of the world, and he is a deceiver. Jesus rebuked Satan and said “Depart from me, Satan! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord God and Him only you shall serve” (Deuteronomy 6:13). Jesus successfully obeyed God in the wilderness by quoting the Word of God. When the devil left Jesus and angels came to minister him. Though Satan is the prince of the world system, God controls all things. Satan promised things he could not deliver. Here Jesus is asserting his authority over the old serpent. Where the first Adam failed, Jesus overcame the tempter by the power of the Holy Spirit. Temptation is an enticement to do evil. Christians are not immune from temptations. But Christ promised to help us in our temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13). Jesus never sinned, He knew no sin and there is no sin in Him (1 Peter 2:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 3:5). We are commanded to submit to God and resist the devil. Then Satan will flee from us (James 4:7: Psalms 119:11). The victory that overcomes the world is our faith in God (1 John 5:4).
Jesus Begins His Ministry:
(Read Matthew 4:4:12-25; Mark 1:14; Luke 4:14-15).
Jesus began his ministry by proclaiming the coming kingdom of God. When Jesus heard that John the Baptist got arrested, he left Judea and went to Galilee. From this point onward, Capernaum became the center of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew gives the account of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. It was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2. Galilee was a despised and spiritually dark region. Jesus proclaimed, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). The kingdom blessing is available to those who repent and believe in Christ. We all struggle with temptations in this life. When our minds are conformed to the will of God, temptation will have less and less hold on us. The Bible reveals the mind of God (Psalms 119:9; Proverbs 4:23). Jesus is the King and his ministry was marked by miracles. Jesus brought kingdom blessings wherever he went. The people who lived in darkness have seen the great light. Jesus was fulfilling the Old Testament prophecy. He healed the sick and brought light to the nations (Isaiah 19:16-24). The kingdom of God is spiritual in nature now (Romans 14:17). The literal kingdom blessing promised in Isaiah 35:5-6 will be fulfilled in the future. Jesus invited Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow him. They were fisher men. They immediately left everything and followed Christ. To obey means to respond immediately in an attitude of faith. Jesus went throughout Galilee proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God. Great multitude followed him. The 400 years of silence was broken by the proclamation of the gospel. There is no greater calling than to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? The Lord of grace is calling you to follow him.