The same Spirit that gave Jesus a human body Matthew 1:20, and declared his Sonship, now leads Him into the wilderness. The reality of Satan cannot be minimized. To deny his reality is to deny the authority of Scripture. He is the “adversary”, or slanderer. He is chief opposer of God and is seeking to establish a kingdom in distinction to God. 1 Chronicles 21:1, Job 1:6-13;2:1-7,Zechariah 3:1-2. As Israel was tested so too must the second Israel be tested. Both temptations occurred immediately after their baptism. (1 Corinthians 10)
The response of Jesus to these tests is to rightly know and use Scripture. You will note that Satan can and does quote the Bible. However in each case he quotes out of context with the purpose of leading astray. God does not test men with evil, James 1:13 but he does test or prove us. Genesis 22:1. This temptation was part of the suffering which led him to learn full obedience (Hebrews 3:5-6,5:7-8).
Jesus’s first temptation is a direct appeal to the flesh and his vulnerability after fasting. This was the first temptation with regard to the fruit in the garden of Eden. Jesus responds with the words of Moses in Genesis 8:3.
In the Second temptation Satan quotes Psalm 91:11-12, you will note that he eliminates “to guard you in all your ways”. The site of the Temple is important because the Lord’s eyes are continual upon the Temple. Jesus responds with Deuteronomy 6:16,13,Exodus 17:2-7.
The third test has to do with this world. Jesus is given a vision of all the kingdoms of the world. He is offered authority over them by Satan. To a degree Satan has dominion over these kingdoms. 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 6:12, 1 John 2:15ff, Revelation 12:9. Satan was offering Jesus what He came for without the Cross. This is why Jesus reacted so strongly to Peter in Matthew 16:21-23. For the third time Jesus responds with “It is written”, and with those words banishes Satan. This is the only true method of deliverance (James 4:7). The ultimate victory is yet to come but it is nearer every day.
These temptations correspond to those of Eve in the Garden:
1) An appeal to physical appetite;
2) An appeal to personal gain (you will not die, you will not hurt your foot);
3) An appeal to power or glory (you will be like God, you will have all the kingdoms of the world).
The timing of Jesus’ move to Galilee is the imprisonment of John. The dating may not be exact but we must remember Matthew is speaking to a Jewish audience. Matthew’s purpose is to emphasize the transition of John’s work with that of the Messiah. Galilee is the location of Messiah’s ministry in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 9:1-7. Kifar Nahum (Village of Nahum) or Capernaum is the city where Jesus dwells, very likely in the home of Peter.
Matthew 4:17-25 – The call of the King is that the Kingdom of God must be entered into by repentance. True repentance is one who has sorrow for his sin, not only because of what is does to us, but because it is offensive to God. Real repentance comes when we understand the harm it does us, and by realizing it’s relationship to suffering of the Messiah. There are two words that are translated repentance in the New Testament.
One denotes turning “epistrepho” and the other “metamelomai” denotes changing one’s mind. Both heart and action are necessary for genuine repentance. There is a sorrow that does not lead to repentance, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10. Until Israel as a nation comes to a national repentance they shall not experience the Kingdom of God. Zechariah 12:10-13:1, Acts 1:6-7.
Matthew 4:18-22 The calling of His disciples – In John 1:35-51 Simon, Andrew, Philip and Nathaniel first followed Jesus. On returning to Galilee they took up their work again. They grew in their commitment and understanding gradually. An earlier commitment may explain why they hastily respond now to Jesus. Still more likely for their immediate response was that this call immediately followed the miracle of Luke 5:1-11.
Matthew 4:23-25 Synagogues were founded during the Babylonian captivity. They were initially places where study and prayer might take place. It was during this time that the Pharisees began to grow in influence. The “Good News” is the message of the Kingdom of God being offered to the people by the King. The “illness” that the King is ministering to can be placed into three categories:
1) The demon possessed – Matthew 8:28ff,12:22ff
2) Those having seizures Matthew 17:14ff
3) Those who were “paralyzed”. Sickness may be the result of sin John 5:14, 1 Corinthians 11:30, or simply by living in a fallen world.
Matthew 4:23-25 – The “Good News” is the message of the Kingdom of God being offered to the people by the King. It was a perfect Kingdom not like the kingdoms of man. You will note that Jesus never allowed Himself to be sidetracked by economic conditions, politics, or personal disputes. His focus was the Kingdom of God.
The “illness” that the King is ministering to can be placed into three categories:
1) The demon posessed Matthew 8:28ff,12:22ff. The ability to cast out demons is often referred to as the gift of miracles (literally “powers” 1 Corinthians 12:10,28-29).
2) Those having seizures (epilepsy), the original language would be better translated lunatic, which comes from the root luna, or moonstruck. The belief at the time was that those suffering were somehow affected by the moon. The source of this disease is now known to be related to a disorder in the central nervous system, Matthew 17:14ff.
3) Those who were “paralyzed”. Sickness may be the result of sin John 5:14, 1 Corinthians 11:30, or simply by living in a fallen world. Sometimes sickness occurs to glorify God (John 9:1-3).
These three represent the three basic areas of man’s afflictions. The spiritual, the mental/nervous, and the physical. When the Messiah reigns over the world these things shall be done away with Isaiah 11:1-5, 35:5-6, Revelation 22:1-3. The bottom line is that the King proved his authority over all areas of sickness by His miracles of healing.
The miracles of healing bore further witness that the words of Jesus were of God. There were many who believed without seeing signs and wonders but they were a foretaste of life in the Kingdom to come. They proved that He was God (John 14:11); They demonstrated that God was concerned about their illnesses; They proved that He was whom the prophets had spoken of (Matthew 9:35,Isaiah 35:5-10,61:1-3); They proved that the Kingdom of God was a reality (Matthew 10:7-8).
The first coming of the Messiah and his offer of His Kingdom to Israel depended upon their response to the King and His message day. The second coming will not depend upon Israel but upon God, who has sworn by Himself that Abraham’s offspring shall be blessed. Genesis 15:5,22:16.