Matthew 4:1 Just as Israel came out of Egypt so too Yeshua. Just after Israel went through a type of baptism in the Red Sea and began her journey to the Promised Land by way of the wilderness, so too Yeshua. After his baptism he was led in the wilderness to experience the same temptations that Israel faced in the wilderness. He had just experienced an incredible deliverance and like Israel Satan attacked Him. He was the only person there what the gospel writers recorded was what He had shared with them. Jesus was tempted for three reasons. 1) To learn obedience to the Father (Heb. 5:8). 2) To secure righteousness
(2 Co. 5:21). 3) To experience all the trials of human life so that He would be able to strengthen men (He. 4:15–16). God does not tempt man (Js. 1:13) but He allows men to be tempted for the same reason He led Jesus to be tempted: To prove and demonstrate their faith. To strengthen and prepare them for greater responsibility and to demonstrate the mercy, grace, and power of God in the face of those trials and testing. 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 Chron 21:1, Job 1:6 13; 2:1 7, Zech. 3:1 2). 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.
Matthew 4:2-4 Jesus’s first temptation is a direct appeal to the flesh and his vulnerability after fasting. This was the first temptation in the garden which used the fruit in the garden of Eden. Jesus responds with the words of Moses in Deut. 8:3. The first temptation was an attempt to prove His deity by using His power for personal purposes. The devil tempted Jesus to prove that He was the Son of God to secure the loyalty of men. First to His own power to meet both a personal and a world-wide need: hunger. He was hungry as He had not eaten for forty days. The devil tempted Him to create bread to feed Himself, and at the same time prove that He had the ability to feed the world, proving Himself to be the Son of God. This would allow Him to gain the loyalty and worship of men. Men would rush to serve a Messiah who could meet their physical and material needs. In doing this he would be trusting Himself, not God choosing a different way than God’s. God’s way included both time to endure the trials of life and the way of the cross. The devil was saying “trust yourself and take a shorter route by passing the cross. There were two things wrong with the reasoning of this temptation. Man needs more than bread. He needs more than physical life and physical needs being met. Man needs God’s life, and his spiritual needs met. By creating bread He could have succeeded in gaining the loyalty of men by feeding them, but He would have failed in meeting the spiritual needs of man. He would instead have taught that the physical is more important than the spiritual. There is a spiritual hunger that is not met by bread. Man also needs to trust God and seek the things of God as he walks day by day throughout life. (Mt. 6:33; Jn. 6:35).
Matthew 4:5-7 In the Second temptation Satan quotes Psalm 91:11 12, but he eliminates “to guard you in all your ways”. He was tempted to jump off the pinnacle of the temple and let God send His angels to catch Him and gently bring Him to the ground since He was God’s only Son. Two things are wrong with the reasoning in this temptation. 1) God is not to be tested. His will, His power, His protection, and His promises are not to be taken advantage of or misused. 2) God is to be trusted, not the miraculous. God wants men to believe Him not because of spectacular events. and happenings, whether they be spectacular or commonplace. If Yeshua succumbed to this temptation He would have tempted God to misuse His power forcing Him to do something not willed by the Father. He also would have God’s people look to the spectacular. The site of the Temple is important because the Lord’s eyes are continual upon the Temple. Jesus responds to Satan with Deut. 6:16, It is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” We too are often tempted the same way by take hold of some Biblical promise and take it out of context, to misuse and misapply it. To call people’s attention on the miraculous rather than faith in Him. We are called to live with God moment by moment trusting Him trusting in God’s Word.
Matthew 4:8-11 The third test or temptation 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 Cor 4:4, Eph 6:12 1 John 2:15ff, Rev. 12:9. Satan was offering Jesus what He came for without the Cross. This is why Jesus reacted so strongly to Peter in Matt. 16:21 23. For the third time Jesus responds with God’s Word through Moses found in Deut. 6:13; 10:20 “It is written, YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY”, and with those words he banishes Satan. This is the only true method of deliverance (James 4:7). We’re not told what the ministry of the angels included, but surely they brought Jesus food to satisfy His hunger. They also brought words of assurance and love from His Father. 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). Those three ways are reflected in 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” The temptation for Jesus to turn stones into bread was to fulfill “the lust of the flesh” by using His divine powers for selfish means. The temptation to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the Temple was to fulfill “the lust of the eyes” by showing off to the world and seeking fame through sensationalism. The temptation to grab immediate control of the kingdoms of the world was to satisfy the “boastful pride of life” by yielding to Satan’s power and will.
Matthew 4:12-17 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 Is. 9:1-7. Kifar Nahum (Village of Nahum) or Capernaum is the city where Jesus dwells, very likely in the home of Peter. The time had now come when Jesus was to begin the work that He came from heaven for. We too have been called for a purpose, and Yeshua is our model for obedience and calling. John’s imprisonment was His sign to launch out in full force. He had been ministering in Judea but not as publicly or as extensively as He would now do. Why now? Because Jesus would not give the appearance of competing with John because Israel’s loyalty would have been divided. John was sent to prepare the way, and the way was not fully prepared until John was removed from the scene. God’s servants are not rivals, we are called to work together in our distinct vocations. When the time comes, and our ministry is completed, we like John should willingly step aside. God raises up others to carry on after us. God generally does not wait until a generation is gone to raise up others. (Romans 12:3-6; Phil. 2:3-4).
Yeshua began his ministry in earnest in Galilee, but he left Nazareth his hometown because the city rejected Him and attempted to kill him (Luke 4:24-29). Jesus made Capernaum His own city (Mat 9:1). Galilee was strategically located. The world’s leading roads passed right through it. It was a place where the influence of the Pharisees and Sadducees was not as strong, in fact it was a place regarded with disdain by the Judeans centered in Jerusalem. In choosing Galilee He fulfilled the word from the prophets (Isaiah 9:1-2; Isaiah 42:6-7). Second Kings 15:29 and 17:24-27 show that after the Jews were deported from the northern kingdom of Israel, foreigners flooded into Galilee. The first-century Jewish historian Josephus showed that Egyptians, Arabians, Phoenicians, and Greeks lived in Galilee. The Apocrypha (1 Maccabees 5) says Galilee’s population was largely Gentile and heathen. Jesus’ move to Galilee and the strategically located city of Capernaum shows His intention to save Gentiles as well as Jews. Matthew’s application of Is 9 also shows that Jesus was the great King called “Mighty God” who would reign from David’s throne over a universal and eternal kingdom, liberate God’s people from spiritual slavery, and bring peace and joy to the world (Is 9:3-7). Yeshua came to take people out of darkness to bring them light (Romans 13:12). People sit in darkness and begin to accept and become comfortable in darkness satisfied with their lives (John 3:19-21). Yeshua is the Light of the world (John 8:12). Yeshua preached repentance. His message echoed what John the Baptist preached. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. See note on 3:2. The opening word of this first sermon sets the tone for Jesus’ entire earthly ministry (Luke 5:32). Repentance was a constant motif in all his public preaching. And in his closing charge to the apostles, he commanded them to preach repentance as well (Luke 24:47). Repentance means to change; to turn; to change one’s mind. It is a turning away from sin and turning toward God. It is a forsaking of sin. It involves two turns. There is a negative turn away from sin and a turning to God, whether sins of thought or action (Acts 14:15). Repentance is more than sorrow. Sorrow may or may not be involved in repentance. Repentance is both the change of mind and the actual turning of one’s life away from sin and toward God (2 Cor. 7:10). Yeshua declared that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Mat. 5:3; 19:23-24).
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. A more likely reason for their immediate response was that this call immediately followed the miracle of Luke 5:1-11. We are given specific details of the callings of only seven of the original twelve. But Yeshua individually selected those who would become part His redemptive program. God always chooses His partners. He chose Noah and Abraham, Moses and David. He chose the prophets. He chose Israel to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). Yeshua told His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit” (John 15:16). Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen (all involved in a family business) living in Capernaum or nearby Bethsaida (see John 1:44). This was apparently also the home of Matthew at the time of his calling (9:1, 9), and of Philip and possibly Nathanael (John 1:43–45). Fishermen carried the social status as a common laborer today. Three of the four (Peter, James, and John) would become Jesus’ closest earthly friends. Matthew gives the impression that this was Jesus’ first encounter with these four men. However, John recorded that some of the Twelve (at least Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael) had been with Jesus during his earlier ministry (John 1:35–51; 2:2, 12, 17; 3:22; 4:1–2, 27–33). Jesus had known his disciples for some time and had even seen them in what would later be described as ministry situations. These men left their careers and family to follow Jesus. And when he called, they all came at once (4:20) or immediately (4:22). These men knew how to fish for fish, but Jesus would transform them into fishers of men. While Jesus did not ignore the crowds, he primarily was involved in teaching the Twelve. When He fed the five thousand with great compassion it was primarily to teach the Twelve. The one condition necessary to become fishers of men was to follow me. They were to learn by living, walking and watching Yeshua.
Matthew 4:23-25 Synagogues were founded during the Babylonian captivity. They were initially assemblies 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. 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 possessed 8:28ff, 12:22ff. The ability to cast out demons is often referred to as the gift of miracles (lit. “powers” 1 Cor. 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 the moon somehow affected those suffering. The source of this disease is now known to be related to a disorder in the central nervous system, 17:14ff. 3) Those who were “paralyzed”. Sickness may be the result of sin John 5:14, 1 Cor. 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 Is. 11:1-5, 35:5-6, Rev. 22:1-3. The bottom line is that the King proved his authority over all areas of sickness by His miracles of healing. These 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 (Matt. 9:35, Is. 35:5-10, 61:1-3); and they proved that the Kingdom of God was a reality (Matt. 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 on Israel but on God, who has sworn by Himself that Abraham’s offspring shall be blessed. Gen. 15 & 22:16.