Matthew 4

* The temptation of Christ. (1-11) The opening of Christ's

ministry in Galilee. (12-17) Call of Simon and others. (18-22)

Jesus teaches and works miracles. (23-25)

1-11 Concerning Christ's temptation, observe, that directly

after he was declared to be the Son of God, and the Saviour of

the world, he was tempted; great privileges, and special tokens

of Divine favour, will not secure any from being tempted. But if

the Holy Spirit witness to our being adopted as children of God,

that will answer all the suggestions of the evil spirit. Christ

was directed to the combat. If we presume upon our own strength,

and tempt the devil to tempt us, we provoke God to leave us to

ourselves. Others are tempted, when drawn aside of their own

lust, and enticed, #Jas 1:14|; but our Lord Jesus had no corrupt

nature, therefore he was tempted only by the devil. In the

temptation of Christ it appears that our enemy is subtle,

spiteful, and very daring; but he can be resisted. It is a

comfort to us that Christ suffered, being tempted; for thus it

appears that our temptations, if not yielded to, are not sins,

they are afflictions only. Satan aimed in all his temptations,

to bring Christ to sin against God. 1. He tempted him to despair

of his Father's goodness, and to distrust his Father's care

concerning him. It is one of the wiles of Satan to take

advantage of our outward condition; and those who are brought

into straits have need to double their guard. Christ answered

all the temptations of Satan with "It is written;" to set us an

example, he appealed to what was written in the Scriptures. This

method we must take, when at any time we are tempted to sin. Let

us learn not to take any wrong courses for our supply, when our

wants are ever so pressing: in some way or other the Lord will

provide. 2. Satan tempted Christ to presume upon his Father's

power and protection, in a point of safety. Nor are any extremes

more dangerous than despair and presumption, especially in the

affairs of our souls. Satan has no objection to holy places as

the scene of his assaults. Let us not, in any place, be off our

watch. The holy city is the place, where he does, with the

greatest advantage, tempt men to pride and presumption. All high

places are slippery places; advancements in the world makes a

man a mark for Satan to shoot his fiery darts at. Is Satan so

well versed in Scripture as to be able to quote it readily? He

is so. It is possible for a man to have his head full of

Scripture notions, and his mouth full of Scripture expressions,

while his heart is full of bitter enmity to God and to all

goodness. Satan misquoted the words. If we go out of our way,

out of the way of our duty, we forfeit the promise, and put

ourselves out of God's protection. This passage, #De 8:3|, made

against the tempter, therefore he left out part. This promise is

firm and stands good. But shall we continue in sin, that grace

may abound? No. 3. Satan tempted Christ to idolatry with the

offer of the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. The

glory of the world is the most charming temptation to the

unthinking and unwary; by that men are most easily imposed upon.

Christ was tempted to worship Satan. He rejected the proposal

with abhorrence. "Get thee hence, Satan!" Some temptations are

openly wicked; and they are not merely to be opposed, but

rejected at once. It is good to be quick and firm in resisting

temptation. If we resist the devil he will flee from us. But the

soul that deliberates is almost overcome. We find but few who

can decidedly reject such baits as Satan offers; yet what is a

man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Christ was succoured after the temptation, for his encouragement

to go on in his undertaking, and for our encouragement to trust

in him; for as he knew, by experience, what it was to suffer,

being tempted, so he knew what it was to be succoured, being

tempted; therefore we may expect, not only that he will feel for

his tempted people, but that he will come to them with

seasonable relief.
12-17 It is just with God to take the gospel and the means of

grace, from those that slight them and thrust them away. Christ

will not stay long where he is not welcome. Those who are

without Christ, are in the dark. They were sitting in this

condition, a contented posture; they chose it rather than light;

they were willingly ignorant. When the gospel comes, light

comes; when it comes to any place, when it comes to any soul, it

makes day there. Light discovers and directs; so does the

gospel. The doctrine of repentance is right gospel doctrine. Not

only the austere John Baptist, but the gracious Jesus, preached

repentance. There is still the same reason to do so. The kingdom

of heaven was not reckoned to be fully come, till the pouring

out of the Holy Spirit after Christ's ascension.
18-22 When Christ began to preach, he began to gather

disciples, who should be hearers, and afterwards preachers of

his doctrine, who should be witnesses of his miracles, and

afterwards testify concerning them. He went not to Herod's

court, not to Jerusalem, among the chief priests and the elders,

but to the sea of Galilee, among the fishermen. The same power

which called Peter and Andrew, could have wrought upon Annas and

Caiaphas, for with God nothing is impossible. But Christ chooses

the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Diligence

in an honest calling is pleasing to Christ, and it is no

hinderance to a holy life. Idle people are more open to the

temptations of Satan than to the calls of God. It is a happy and

hopeful thing to see children careful of their parents, and

dutiful. When Christ comes, it is good to be found doing. Am I

in Christ? is a very needful question to ask ourselves; and,

next to that, Am I in my calling? They had followed Christ

before, as common disciples, #Joh 1:37|; now they must leave

their calling. Those who would follow Christ aright, must, at

his command, leave all things to follow him, must be ready to

part with them. This instance of the power of the Lord Jesus

encourages us to depend upon his grace. He speaks, and it is

23-25 Wherever Christ went, he confirmed his Divine mission by

miracles, which were emblems of the healing power of his

doctrine, and the influences of the Spirit which accompanied it.

We do not now find the Saviour's miraculous healing power in our

bodies; but if we are cured by medicine, the praise is equally

his. Three general words are here used. He healed every sickness

or disease; none was too bad; none too hard, for Christ to heal

with a word. Three diseases are named; the palsy, which is the

greatest weakness of the body; lunacy, which is the greatest

malady of the mind; and possession of the devil, which is the

greatest misery and calamity of both; yet Christ healed all, and

by thus curing bodily diseases, showed that his great errand

into the world was to cure spiritual maladies. Sin is the

sickness, disease, and torment of the soul: Christ came to take

away sin, and so to heal the soul.
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