About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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ch.4:1-11    ch.4:12-22    ch. 4:23-25

The Temptation Of  Jesus  (ch. 4:1-11)


Verse 1 tells us that Jesus “was led by the Spirit” into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  This was no chance meeting between Jesus and the devil.  It was planned.  It was the will of God.  The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert for the express reason to come in contact with the devil to be tested.  This test was obviously important in the eyes of God.


Did God or Jesus have doubts that Jesus would pass this test?  I don’t think so.  But Jesus had to be tempted by the devil.  He had to experience everything that a human being would experience, and more so.  This temptation was a test more than most humans would experience.  Few humans come face to face with the devil in this fashion. 


Verse 2 tells us that Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.  Luke 4:2 seems to suggest that Jesus was tempted during these 40 days of fasting.  Matthew tells us in verse 3 that after the 40 Jesus was tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread since He was hungry. 


There doesn’t have to be a discrepancy  between Luke and Matthew.  Jesus could well have been tempted for these 40 days, but these particular temptations may have taken place after the 40 day point in Jesus’ fast. 


The number 40 is often associated with testing in the Bible.  The Children of Israel were tested for 40 years in the desert.  Moses fasted for 40 days as seen in Exodus 34:28. 


In verse 3 the devil challenged the fact that Jesus was the Son of God.  If He really was God’s Son, then He could make these stones into bread.  The devil was right on that count. Jesus could do that, but He surely wouldn’t do it in response to the devil’s suggestion.  Jesus did not have to respond to anyone’s request except to God’s requests.  Jesus also never did anything to prove Himself to anyone. He always acted in accordance with God’s will, not man’s will and especially not the devil’s will.


Verse 4 is a well known verse.  Jesus responds to the devil by telling him that man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.  By saying this, Jesus was associating himself with the human race.  These words found in Duet. 3:8 were directed towards “man”. 


Also Jesus is saying that the real life sustaining thing for both Him and mankind was what came from the mouth of God.  This speaks to the relationship we have with God, and for Christians, this relationship is found in and through Jesus. 


Over the years we’ve used this verse to promote the importance of the Bible, that is, the Bible being the Word of God, and therefore we need to feed on it to live.  This is true, but I think Jesus is speaking more than that.  First of all, that Word of God at that point was the Old Testament record.  But the record was all about God and His dealings with Israel first and the rest of the world second.  I believe the point to what Jesus is saying here is that we need to hear from God, learn from what we hear, and do what we hear, and to hear, we need to relate to God.  The emphases is on relating to God, something the devil forsook long ago. So there is the written Word of God and there is the voice of the Lord we hear within our spirits.  Both are important.


In verse 5 we see the devil took Jesus to the highest point of the Temple in Jerusalem .  Matthew calls this “the Holy City ”.  The “ Holy City ” always refers to Jerusalem .  Some suggest that Jesus and the devil were there only in spirit, as in a vision.  Others suggest that they were literally at the Temple .  I tend to believe that they were at the Temple in a physical sense. 


Some people wonder at the words “then the devil took Him…”.  They wonder who really was in control here. Was Jesus being obedient to the devil by following Him.  I think we can safely say that Jesus went to the Holy City on His own volition.  Obedience to the devil is not an issue here.


In verse 6, once being on this high point the devil suggests to Jesus that since He is the Son of God, then He should be able to throw Himself down from this high point and not get hurt.  The devil quotes from Psa. 91:11-12 to support his suggestion.  It’s clear that the devil knows the Bible.  He just doesn’t have good hermeneutical thinking. 


The devil deceives people to this very day with his misuse of Scripture.  He does it all the time in all sorts of cults and wrong doctrine.  This is why Christians need to understand the proper way to interpret and read the Bible, something the modern church of the 21st century teaches little of.


In verse 7 Jesus returns with another verse of His own found in Deut. 6:16 where we are told not to tempt or test God.  Jesus saw what the devil was suggesting as testing God.  Testing God means to try to make God do something to prove Himself to us.  Once again, God does not have to prove Himself to anyone. 


In Micah 3:8 we see God telling Israel that they have robbed Him by not giving their tithes and offerings.  God tells Israel to test Him in this matter to see if He will not do as He says He will do if Israel will only tithe.  Here we see God’s understanding of the word “test”.  What God is saying here is that Israel should do as God says as a test.  If they could not obey God for the pure sake of obedience, then test Him.  Put God to the test to see if He will do as He says. God was telling them to put Him to the test out of consolation.  It wasn’t really what He wanted.  He’d rather have Israel obey for obedience sake alone. God told Israel to test Him in this one certain area.  I don‘t think we can carry the thought to other areas where He hasn’t told us to test Him. For the most part, testing God is not something we do, unless He tells us to test Him, as in this case.   


So testing God means to do something with the intent to make God do something in return.  The hyper-faith movement of the 21st century in my thinking comes close to testing God. Unless God tells us to test Him, we should not test Him. We should simply accept what He says and be satisfied with it.


In verse 8 we see that the devil takes Jesus to a high mountain to show Him all the Kingdoms of the world.  Once again, Jesus went on His own volition. 


In verse 9 the devil says, “all this I will give you if you bow down and worship me”.  By saying this the devil claimed that the kingdoms of the world belonged to Him, and in one sense of the word the devil was right.  Man had forfeited these kingdoms that they were to rule under the Lordship of God to the devil. Jesus in other Scriptures calls the devil the prince of this world.  He doesn’t own the world. God owns the world.  The devil rules over the affairs of men when they give themselves to him, whether knowingly or unknowingly.


In verse 10 Jesus responds by quoting Deut. 6:13 where we learn that we are only to worship God alone, and no one else.  The devil said two things to Jesus here. One is that He could have the kingdoms of the world, and two is that Jesus had to worship the devil to get them.  Jesus never responded to the kingdoms statement.  He knew that they’d be His anyway.


Jesus would not worship anyone but God. The word worship means to “kiss towards”.  “Kissing” is obviously an affectionate word based on a relationship you have with the one you kiss.  This is what worshiping God is all about.  We give ourselves to Him in an affectionate relationship.  Worship implies much more than singing songs on a Sunday morning.  It’s all about a way of living that shows everyone that you belong to the Lord.


In verse 11 we see that the devil left Jesus alone at this point.  The object of this test by the devil was to get Jesus to worship him, but that failed.  He’d return again at other points in Jesus’ life and try to get Him through other means.


Jesus Begins To Preach  (ch. 4:11-22)  


In verse 12 we see that John was put into prison.    Matthew doesn’t tell us but we know that John the Baptist was in prison because he told Herod the king that he should not be living with his brother’s wife.  John may have been humble, but he was very bold.


From Luke’s account in Luke 4 we learn that after Jesus was tempted in the desert he went back to His home town of Nazareth .  There He entered the synagogue on a Sabbath and preached. He was not accepted by His home town people, so this might well be the reason why Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum as we see in verse 13.


The area where Capernaum was once known as Zebulun and Naphtelli.  Zebulun was Jacob’s tenth son born from Leah.  Naphtali was Jacob’s sixth son, born from his concubine Bilhah. 


The fact that Jesus moved to Capernaum was a fulfillment of prophecy, as Matthew often points these things out.  Matthew quotes Isa. 9:1 – 2.   In verse 16 the Old Testament quote says that the people living in this area were living in darkness, but they’ve seen a great light.  Of course, this great light is Jesus. 


Matthew continues the quote saying that this land lives in the shadow of death, which is always the result of sin, but the Messiah who is the “light has dawned” over the land.


In verse 17 Matthew tells us that “from that time on Jesus began to preach, “repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”.  We note here that Jesus did indeed preach repentance.  Once again, unless on repents, one cannot have true faith, or trust in Jesus. 


The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand because the King of the Heavens was in their midst demonstrating the power of the Kingdom.


The Calling Of The First Disciples (ch. 4:18 - 22)    


Verse 18 tells us that while Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee He saw Simon Peter and Andrew “casting their nets”.   These nets were large nets that they dragged behind their boat. 


We learn here that Peter and Andrew were fishermen  We learn elsewhere that they actually grew up in a fishing family.  Their father owned a fishing business.


In verse 19 we see Jesus say to these two men, “come follow me and I will make you fishers of men”.  From a reading of John 1:35 to 42 some scholars say that Peter and Andrew were already Jesus’ disciples when He called them to follow Him here in verse 20.  Jesus didn’t ask these two men to forsake their career the first time He met them. 


As Jesus often does, He uses an analogy.  He compares leading men to Him with fishing.  Peter and Andrew would now fish for men, not for fish. Of course fishing requires some knowledge of fish and how to fish.  It requires patience and hard work.  Sometimes you are successful and sometimes you’re not.  All these things are the same when fishing for men.


In verse 20 we see Peter and Andrew immediately pulled their nets in and followed Jesus, without hesitation it seems.  Maybe by this time they’d been around Jesus long enough to trust Him in what He told them, or at least trust Him to a degree.


In verse 21 Jesus meets up with James and John.  They too were fishermen who worked for their father Zebedee.  They were fixing their nets, getting them ready to use when Jesus called them to follow Him.


Like Peter and Andrew they followed Jesus too without any hesitation.  Zebedee most likely had other men working for him that would help him out.  The question is often asked, “how did Zebedee feel when he saw his sons leave’?


Jesus Heals The Sick  (ch. 4:23 - 25)


In verse 23 Matthew tells us that Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching and preaching in synagogues, and pretty well anywhere He found people.  He also healed many people of their sicknesses. 


Many scholars believe that Jesus took three major Galilean trips.  This would be the first one, and it seems like He only had Peter, Andrew, James and John with Him on this trip. 


In verse 24 we see that the news of Jesus spread even unto Syria , which was to the north of Galilee , and why not.  Jesus became a traveling hospital. When people heard that Jesus was healing sick people, all sorts of sick people came to him. 


Most likely many of these people were Gentiles as well as Jews.  Syria was more populated by Gentiles than Jews.  So even in His ministry to the Jews, Jesus did not neglect Gentiles. 


In verse 25 we see Matthew expanding on the area where the people came from to see Jesus. From the south they came from Jerusalem and all through Judea, and even to the east across the Jordan River there were many people coming to see Jesus.

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