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THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
THREE TESTS AND KINGDOM PREACHING
Matthew 4:1-4 – A Wilderness Temptation: ‘If you are a son’
|| Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:1-4
MT4:1 Then Jesus was led149
up into the wilderness by the Pneuma to be tempted150
by the Devil.151
Was led: Mark 1:12 says the Spirit “drove” so that Jesus became “driven” into the desert.
Tempted: God cannot be “tempted” (James 1:13,) though Jesus is here, three times.
Devil: The Greek is DIABOLOS. Meaning “Slanderer,” or “Liar,” this name for Satan occurs 36 times, never in the Hebrew Bible and first here. Note that the Dragon is on hand when the “woman gives birth” to a spiritual Son (Revelation 12:4).
MT4:2 After fasting for forty days152
and forty nights he felt hungry.153
Forty days: An experience shared by only two others: Moses and Elijah (Exodus 24:18; 1 Kings 19:8).
Hungry: Jesus becomes hungry several times in the Gospel accounts (Matthew 21:18; Mark 11:12). May it be assumed that God cannot
MT4:3 And the Tempter approached Jesus and said to him, “If you are a son154
of The God tell these stones155
to become loaves of bread.”156
If you are a son: Two things are noticed here: the word “if” is an attempt to create doubt; and, the Devil
calls Jesus “a son” knowing full well he is “the Son.”
Stones: These have
already been mentioned when John spoke of God’s ability to make sons of Abraham from stones (Matthew 3:9).
Bread: Self-denial was the law of our Lord’s mission (Philippians 2:6-8).
MT4:4 But, Jesus replied and said to the Devil:
“It has been written157 [by Moses]:‘Not on bread alone will humans live, but upon every utterance158
coming forth through God’s Mouth.’”
Written: The first Bible verse quoted by Jesus (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Utterance: The Greek is RHEMATI. Or, KJV: word; RHM: declaration; KNX: words.
Matthew 4:5-7 – A Temptation to Test God
|| Luke 4:9-12
MT4:5 Then the Devil took Jesus along into the Holy City159
and stationed him on the Temple160
Holy City: Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is called “the holy city” in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 11:2;
21:2, 10; 22:19).
Temple: The Greek here is HIEROU.
MT4:6 and the Devil said to him, “If you are a son of The God hurl yourself down, for it has been written [in Psalms],161‘He will give His angels charge regarding you and upon their hands they will lift you so you will never strike your foot162 upon a stone.’” [Psalm 91:11, 12]
It has been written [in Psalms]: The Devil quotes Scripture. The quotation is Psalm 91:11, 12.
Your foot: Is there a sarcastic allusion to Genesis 3:15?
replied to the Devil:
“Again it is written,163‘You shall not put YHWH your God to the test.’”164
Written: The quotation is from Deuteronomy 6:16.
Test: Compare 1 Corinthians 10:9.
Matthew 4:8-11 – A Temptation to Gain World Rule
|| Luke 4:5-8, 13
MT4:8 Again the Devil took Jesus along to an unusually high mountain165
and showed him all the kingdoms166
of the world167
and their glory.
High mountain: We are tempted to envision Mount Everest though Mount Hermon might be the location.
All the kingdoms: The governments and world powers all belong to the Devil as Luke 4:6, 7 confirms. Satan is the “god of this world.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) The entire world lies in his power (1 John 5:19). This “world” will one day be ruled by Lord Messiah (Revelation 11:15).
World: The Greek is KOSMOS.
MT4:9 And the Devil said to Jesus, “All this I will give you if you ever prostrate168
yourself and bow before me, kissing my feet.”
Prostrate: The Greek is PROSKUNESES and contains “before + kiss” meaning to bow to the ground and kiss the
sandals or hem of a garment. Older translations often use “worship” which is drawn from “worthy” and was used in old English regarding worthy persons such as kings, judges, and priests as worthy persons who may be addressed “Your
worship.” It may range from a simple matter of respect to religious worship.
MT4:10 Then Jesus said to the Devil,
“Be on your way, Satan,169 for it has been written,170‘You shall worship171 YHWH your God172 and to Him only shall you render divine service.’”173[Deuteronomy 5:9; 6:13; 10:20]
Satan: The name means “Resister; Rebel; Apostate.” The name occurs 68 times with the first occurrence at 1
Chronicles 21:1. It occurs most often (17) in the Book of Job.
Written: Perhaps a conflate paraphrase
from Deuteronomy 5:9; 6:13; 10:20.
Worship: The Greek is PROSKUNESEIS as in verse 9 but amplified
by Jesus’ next word. TCNT: do homage.
Your God: By this Jesus infers that YHWH is his God
otherwise the quote makes no sense as a response to Satan. Over two dozen times the Scriptures use phrases indicating the Nazarene worships his own God. “The God of our Lord.” (Ephesians 1:3, 17)
Render divine service: The Greek is LATREUSEIS. Or, KJV: serve; RHM: divine service.
that the Devil left Jesus, and, look! angels approached Jesus and ministered to him.
Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light
|| Mark 1:14, 15; Luke 4:14
MT4:12 Now, having heard John [the Baptist] was arrested, Jesus retired into Galilee.174
Galilee: The place occurs 76 times in the Bible with the region first mentioned at Numbers 34:11 (Joshua 20:7). The fresh
water “lake” is also called the Sea of Chinnereth (Numbers 34:11), the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1), and the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). Jesus begins his ministry here and essentially ends it also at Galilee (John 21:1, 4-19). The lake is green/blue
13 miles long and 7 miles wide. “The density of the shoals of fish in the Sea of Galilee can scarcely be conceived by those who have not witnessed them. Frequently these shoals cover an acre or more of the surface and the fish, as they slowly move along
in masses, are so crowded, with their back fins just appearing on the level of the water, that the appearance at a little distance is that of a violent shower of rain pattering on the surface.” (The Natural History of the Bible, H. B. Tristram,
1889, p. 285) All of Jesus’ faithful apostles came from this area.
MT4:13 Leaving Nazareth175
Jesus took up residence in Capernaum176
by the sea in the districts of Zebulun177
Nazareth: Probably just after Luke 4:28-30.
Capernaum: The name means “Comforting Place.” The place occurs 16 times in the Christian Bible. Mark 2:1 calls this Jesus’ “home.” (“his house”)
Zebulun: The territory named after a son of Israel occurs 48 times in the Bible with the first at Genesis 30:20. Compare Psalm
68:27. The name means perhaps “Toleration” or “Lofty Abode.” Compare Revelation 7:8.
Naphtali: The name means “My Wrestlings.” The territory named after a son of Israel occurs 55 times in the Bible with the first at Genesis 30:8. Compare Revelation 7:6.
that it might be fulfilled as it as spoken by Isaiah179
the prophet, saying,
Isaiah: Isaiah 9:1, 2. The prophet Isaiah is named 22 times in the Christian Bible (Matthew, 6; Mark, 2; Luke, 2; John,
4; Acts, 3; Romans, 5). In addition to direct quotations there are many allusions which are subtle paraphrases (Compare John 5:29 with Isaiah 26:19 LXX).
of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, by the sea on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee180 of the nations,
Galilee: A prophecy indicating where Messiah would begin his ministry. It is in this area where the Nazarene sees his greatest fruitage – the foundation of Christianity.
MT4:16those people181 sitting in a region of death’s dark shadow saw a great Light rise upon them.”
[Isaiah 9:1, 2]
Those people: Note Acts 1:11; 2:7. We have a great spiritual debt to these folks.
MT4:17 From that time182
Jesus started preaching, saying, “Repent,183 for the Realm of the heavens184 has drawn near.”
From that time: About a year after John the Baptist began his own ministry.
Repent: The first words of the “Gospel” in the mouth of Jesus. Repentance is part of the Lord’s Gospel.
Realm of the heavens: Or, “kingdom of the heavens.” The meaning is two fold: a) the King is present; and, b) the opportunity to enter the Nazarene’s realm of profession by confessing him as Lord.
Matthew 4:18-22 – The Calling of the First Disciples
|| Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11; John 1:35-42
MT4:18 Walking by the Sea of Galilee Jesus saw two brothers, Simon185
(who is also called Peter186) and Andrew187
his brother. They were fishermen and were casting their fishing-nets into the sea.
Simon: The first disciple called or invited. The name means “Listen” and occurs 80 times in the Christian Bible. Others are also called by this name.
Peter: The name means “Rock” and occurs 175 times (most often in the Book of Acts) in the Christian Bible. Peter is most often listed first in the list of the apostles.
Andrew: The second called. The name means “Manly” and occurs 13 times in the Christian Bible.
MT4:19 And Jesus said to them,
“Come here and follow me, and I will make you fishers of humans.”MT4:20 And these immediately dropped their nets188
and they followed Jesus.
Immediately dropped their nets: It is possible these men were baptized disciples of John the Baptist. It is also possible
Jesus had known these men as he had grown up in the area of Galilee. One notes how quickly they were willing to quit their trade and follow the Messiah.
MT4:21 And leaving there, Jesus saw
two other brothers, James189
the son of Zebedee and John190
his brother. They were in the fishing boat with their father Zebedee repairing their nets. Jesus called them.
James: The names means “Surplanter” and equals Jacob and occurs 54 times in the Christian Bible. It is possible
that James was a cousin or kinsman of Jesus of Nazareth.
John: The name means “Yah Favors;
God’s Gift” and occurs 140 times in the Christian Bible.
MT4:22 At once these left the boat and their father and they followed Jesus.
Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds
|| Mark 1:39; 3:7, 8; Luke 4:14 - 15:44
MT4:23 And Jesus was traveling around the whole of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,191
preaching the good news of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and every infirmity among the people.
Synagogues: Jesus does what Paul does later: as Jews they preach where Jews gather.
MT4:24 And reports about Jesus circulated as far as Syria. They brought to Jesus all those faring badly, having a variety of diseases and afflicted with torments, the demon-possessed, the moonstruck192
and paralytics – and Jesus cured them.
Moonstruck: The Greek is SELENIA-ZOMENOUS and is variously translated: KJV: lunatick; ASV: epileptic; BAS: those who were
out of their minds; PME: insane.
MT4:25 And many crowds followed Jesus – from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem and Judea, and from the other side of the Jordan.