Matthew 4#Mt 4:1| XIX. JESUS TEMPTED IN THE WILDERNESS. #Mt 4:1-11 Mr 1:12,13 Lu 4:1-13| Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit, etc. See TFG "#Mr 1:12|". To be tempted of the devil. See TFG "#Mr 1:13|". #Mt 4:2| And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights. A forty days' fast was accomplished by Moses (#Ex 34:28 De 9:18|), and by Elijah (#1Ki 19:8|), and it is a significant fact in this connection that these two men appeared with Christ at his transfiguration (#Mt 17:3|). Those who share Christ's sufferings shall also share his glorification (#Ro 8:17 2Ti 2:11,12|). The forty days' fast became a basis for the temptation. We are told that temptation results from the excitement of desire (#Jas 1:14|), and, as a rule, the greater the desire the greater the temptation. Viewed from this standpoint the temptation of the second Adam greatly exceeded in strength that of the first, for Adam abstained as to a particular fruit, but Christ fasted as to all things edible. He afterward hungered. Here, for the first time, our Lord is shown as sharing our physical needs. We should note for our comfort that one may lack bread and suffer want, and still be infinitely beloved in heaven. (TFG 91) #Mt 4:3| And the tempter came and said unto him. Satan is pre-eminently the tempter, for other tempters are his agents. He may possibly have appeared as an angel of light (#2Co 11:14|), but the purpose of his coming is more important than the manner of it. He came to produce sin in Jesus, for sin would render him forever incapable of becoming our Saviour--a sacrifice for the sins of others. If. In the temptations Satan uses three "ifs." The first "if" is one of despairing doubt (#Mt 4:3 Lu 4:3|); the second, one of vainglorious speculation (#Mt 4:6 Lu 4:9|); the third, one of moral and spiritual compromise (#Mt 4:9 Lu 4:7|). If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. See TFG "#Lu 4:3|". (TFG 91-92) #Mt 4:4| But he answered and said, It is written. Jesus quotes #De 8:3|. It is a saying relative to the times when Israel was sustained by manna in the wilderness. The case of Jesus was now similar to that of Israel. He was in a foodless wilderness, but he trusted that as God had provided for Israel in its helplessness, so would he now provide for him. Israel sinned by doubt and murmuring, and proposing to obtain bread in its own way--that is, by returning to Egypt (#Ex 16:1-9|). Jesus avoided a like sin. We should note the use which our Lord made of Scripture: in his hour of trial he did not look to visions and voices and special revelation for guidance, but used the written Word as the lamp for his feet (#Ps 119:105|); in the conflict of temptation he did not defend himself by his own divine wisdom, but used that wisdom which God had revealed to all Israel through his prophets. Jesus fought as a man (#Php 2:6,7|), and used that weapon which, as God, he had given to man (#Eph 6:17|). Jesus used the Scripture as of final, argument-ending authority. Eve also started with "God hath said" (#Ge 3:3|); but she was not constant in her adherence to God's word. Jesus permitted Satan neither to question nor pervert the Scripture. Man. In using the word "man" Jesus takes his stand with us as a human being. Shall not live by bread alone. Called out of Egypt as God's Son (#Mt 2:15|), Jesus could well expect that he would be fed with manna after his forty days' fast. He trusted that God could furnish a table in the wilderness (#Ps 78:19|). We, too, have abundant reason for a like trust. God gave us our lives, and gave his Son to redeem them from sin. He may let us suffer, but we can not perish is we trust him. Let us live by his word rather than by bread. It is better to die for righteousness than to live by sin. God fed Israel with supernatural bread, to show the people that they lived thus, and not by what they were pleased to call natural means. The stomach is a useful agent, but it is not the source of life, nor even the life sustainer. Those who think that the securing of bread is the first essential to the sustaining of life, will fail to seek any diviner food, and so will eventually starve with hunger--soul hunger. But by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. To satisfy our sense of duty is often more pleasant than to appease the pangs of hunger (#Joh 4:32-34 Job 23:12 Jer 15:16|). The trust of Jesus that God would speak in his behalf and save him, was like that of Job (#Job 13:15|). God can sustain our lives without food if he chooses. We shall live if God wills it, bread or no bread; and we shall likewise die at his word (#Mt 6:25 Joh 6:47-58 Ac 17:28|). God can support our lives independent of our body (#Mt 10:28|). (TFG 92-93) #Mt 4:5| Then the devil taketh him. Matthew emphasizes the compulsory companionship of Satan. Jesus was in the hands of Satan as was Job (#Job 2:5,6|); but in Jesus' case Satan had the power of life and death, and he eventually took Jesus to the cross and slew him there. Into the holy city. A common name for Jerusalem. The inscription on Jewish coins was "Jerusalem the Holy." Arabs to-day call it "el Kuds," "the Holy." The Holy City did not exclude the tempter nor temptations. The church may be the scene of man's sorest trial to resist wrong. But in the Holy City which is to come there will be no temptation. And set him. The two verbs "taketh" and "setting" imply that Satan exercised a control over the bodily person of our Lord. On the pinnacle of the temple. It is not known exactly what spot is indicated by the word "pinnacle." Hence three places have been contended for the proper locality: 1. The apex of the temple structure itself. 2. The top of Solomon's porch. 3. The top of Herod's royal portico. As to the temple itself, Josephus tells us that its roof was covered with spikes of gold, to prevent even birds from alighting upon it, and, if so, men could not stand upon it. Solomon's porch, or the eastern portico, faced the Mount of Olives, and has been fixed upon by tradition as the place from which James, the Lord's brother, was hurled. The royal portico of Herod was at the southeast corner of the temple enclosure, and overlooked the valley of Kidron. Here was then, and is yet, the greatest height about the temple, and it was, therefore, the most suitable place for Satan's proposal. (TFG 93-94) #Mt 4:6| And saith unto him, If. Godly life rests on faith. The life the devil would have us lead rests on ifs and uncertainties, on doubt and skepticism. We should note that foolish men doubt the divinity of Jesus, but the temptations of our Lord show how positively Satan was convinced of it. The opening scenes of Christ's ministry are redolent with his divinity. The Baptist asserted his purity and might, the Spirit visibly acknowledged his worthiness, the Father audibly testified to his Sonship, and the devil twice assaulted him as the divine champion. If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down. The first temptation was to under-confidence; the second to over-trust and presumption--two very dangerous conditions of the soul. Men begin by disparagingly doubting that Jesus can save them from their sins, and end by recklessly presuming that he will save them in their sins. Comparing this with Eve's temptation, we find that she was vainly curious to see if she might be like God (#Ge 3:5|), but Christ resisted such curiously. It is urged by some as to this temptation that there is no hint of vainglory or display, because nothing is said about casting himself down in the presence of the people, and that Jesus was merely taken to the temple because the sacred locality would tend to heighten his trust in the protecting promise which Satan quoted. But this ground is not well taken, for: 1. The temple presumes a crowd. 2. We have a right to presume that this temptation would be like others to which Jesus was subjected. He was frequently invited to work miracles to satisfy curiosity, and he invariably refused to do so. For it is written. This quotation is taken from #Ps 91:11,12|, and applies to man generally. Note 1. The devil's head is full of Scripture, but to no profit, for his heart is empty of it. 2. By quoting it he shows a sense of its power which modern rationalism would do well to consider. 3. Satan's abuse of Scripture did not discourage Christ's use of it. He shall give his angels charge concerning thee. Regarding Satan's words as a quotation, we are struck with the fact that his knowledge of this particular passage was based upon his personal experience. He had been confronted by the presence of the guardian angels and had fretted at it (#Job 1:10 2Ki 6:8,17 Ps 34:7 Jude 1:9|). As a temptation, Satan's words appeal to Jesus to be more religious; to put more trust and reliance upon the promises of the Father; and he puts him in the place--the temple--where he might argue that God could least afford to let his promise fail. And on their hands they shall bear thee up. All who love pomp, display of artistic taste, gaieties of fashion, intoxication of fame, etc., fall by this temptation. Those who truly rest on God's promises, stand on a sure foundation, but those who rise on bubbles must come down when they burst. (TFG 94-95) #Mt 4:7| Jesus said unto him, Again it is written. "Written," "said" (#Lu 4:12|); the writings of Scripture are in general the sayings of God. But the Bible is not made up of isolated texts. To get a right understanding we must compare Scripture with Scripture. We could have no higher indorsement of the Old Testament than this use of it by Christ. It was sufficient for him in his temptations, and with the addition of the New Testament, it is sufficient for us in all things (#2Ti 3:16,17 Col 3:3-16|). Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God. Make experiment upon God, set traps for him, put one's self in dangerous situations, hoping thereby to draw forth some show of loving deliverance. Had Jesus cast himself down, he would have demanded of the Father a needless miracle to prove his Sonship, and would thereby have put the love of God to an unnecessary trial. All who jeopardize themselves without any command of God or call of duty, make trial of his love. (TFG 96) #Mt 4:8| Again, the devil taketh him. Whether naturally or supernaturally, "whether in the body or out of the body" (#2Co 12:2-4|), we can not tell. But it was a real, practical trial and temptation. Unto an exceeding high mountain. It is immaterial which mountain this was; for from no mountain could one see the whole earth with the natural eye. And showeth him. It is not said by either Matthew or Luke that Jesus saw the kingdoms from the mountain-top, but that Satan showed them to him. From any high Judaean mountain it would be easy for him to locate Rome, Greece, Egypt, Persia and Assyria, and as he pointed out their locality a few brief words of description would picture them to the imagination of Jesus, and cause their glories to move before his eyes. But it is very likely that to this description some sort of supernatural vision was added. It tempted the eye of Jesus as the luscious fruit did the eye of Eve (#Ge 3:6|). All the kingdoms of the world. It tempted Jesus to realize the dreams which the Jewish nation entertained. It was an appeal to him to reveal himself in the fullness of his power and authority as above generals, princes, kings, and all beings of all ages. An appeal to obtain by physical rather than by spiritual power; by the short-cut path of policy rather than by the long road of suffering and martyrdom. Jesus came to obtain the kingdoms of the world. He was born King of the Jews, and confessed himself to be a King before Pilate. All authority is now given to him, and he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet, and until all the kingdoms of the world become his kingdom. Satan's way to obtain this kingdom differed from God's way. He might obtain it by doing Satan's will and becoming his worshiper, or by worshiping God and doing his will. Satan would give the speedier possession, but God the more lasting. We also strive for a kingdom; but let us obtain ours as Christ did his. And the glory of them. That is, all their resources as well as their magnificence. Their cities, lands and people, their armies, treasures and temples, etc. Many parents, in encouraging their children to seek earthly glory and distinction, unconsciously assist Satan in urging this temptation. (TFG 96-97) #Mt 4:9| All these things will I give thee. From the standpoint of Christ's humanity, how overwhelming the temptation! It was the world's honors to one who had for thirty years led the life of a village carpenter; it was the world's riches to him who had not where to lay his head. From the standpoint of Jesus' divinity the temptation was repulsive. It was a large offer in the sight of Satan, but a small one in the sight of him who made all the worlds. Such offers are large to the children of the world, but small to those who are by faith joint-heirs with Christ (#Ro 8:17 Php 3:7,8|). But the temptation was, nevertheless, very specious and plausible. The power of Jesus linked with that of Satan, and operating through Jewish fanaticism and pagan expectation would, in a few months, have brought the whole earth into one temporal kingdom, with Jesus as its head. But the kingdom of Christ rested upon a surer promise (#Ps 2:8|) than that here given by the "father of lies." God had promised, and, despite the pretensions of Satan, God had not yet retired from the government of the world. It was true that Satan and his emissaries had, by usurpation, gained an apparent possession of the world, but Jesus had right to it as the heir of God (#Mt 21:33-43|). Being stronger than Satan, he had come to regain his kingdom, not by treaty, but by conquest (#Lu 11:19-22|). Moreover, he would obtain it as a spiritual and not as a carnal kingdom. Servants of Christ should remember this. Every attempt to establish Messiah's kingdom as an outward, worldly dominion is an effort to convert the kingdom of heaven into the kingdom of the devil. God's kingdom can not be secularized. It should be noted also that Satan omits the words "if thou art the Son of God" (#Mt 4:3,6|) in this instance, for their presence would have marred the force of the temptation. Note also that this was the only temptation wherein Satan evinced any show of generosity. He is slow to give anything, and most of us sell out to him for nothing (#Isa 52:3|). If thou wilt fall down and worship me. See TFG "#Mt 4:3|". Satan and God each seek the worship of man, but from very different motives. God is holiness and goodness, and we are invited to worship him that we may thereby be induced to grow like him. But Satan seeks worship for vanity's sake. How vast the vanity which would give so great a reward for one act of worship! Verily the devil is fond of it. He gives nothing unless he obtains it, and all his generosity is selfishness. Worshiping before Satan is the bending of the soul rather than of the body. He holds before each of us some crown of success, and says: "Bend just a little; slightly compromise your conscience. Accept the help of Pharisee and Sadducee, and keep silent as to their sins. Mix a little diplomacy with your righteousness. Stoop just a little. If you do, I will aid you and insure your success. If you do not, I will defeat you and laugh at your failures." It is Satan's sin to make such suggestions, but it is not our sin until we comply with them. We may more quickly obtain by his wrong way, but more surely by God's right way. Let no Christian be humiliated or discouraged by gross temptation, since even the Son of God was tempted to worship the devil. What Jesus would not do, the Beast has done, and has received the kingdoms for a season (#Re 13:1-9|). Note, too, that it is all one whether we worship Satan, or mammon, the gift which he offers (#Mt 6:24|). (TFG 97-98, 99) #Mt 4:10| Get thee hence. The passionate utterance of an aroused soul. Indignation is as divine as patience (#Eph 4:26|). Satan's sweetest temptation was most disgusting to Christ, for its sin was so grossly apparent. It ran counter to the very first of the Ten Commandments. Jesus would give it no room in his thoughts; he spurned it, as being as heinous as the law describes it (#De 5:6-11|). Temptation must be peremptorily rejected. Jesus did not stop to weigh the worthiness of Satan; it was sufficient that God only is to be worshiped. As God, Jesus was himself an object of worship; but as man he worshiped the Father privately and publicly. Satan sought to command Jesus, but was commanded of him. Step by step Satan has obeyed this command, and foot after foot, earth's spiritual world has been yielded by his departing presence. Satan. The first and second temptations were so subtle and covert, and their sin so skillfully disguised, as to suggest that Satan himself was disguised. If so, his pride and vanity, revealed in this last temptation, betrayed him so that Jesus tore off his mask and called him by his right name. When he tempted him in a somewhat similar matter, Jesus called Simon Peter by this name (#Mt 16:23|), but he laid a different command upon each of them. To Satan he spoke as an enemy, saying, "Get thee hence." He ordered Satan from his presence, for he had no proper place there. To Peter he spoke as to a presumptuous disciple, saying, "Get thee behind me." The disciple is a follower of his master, and his proper place is in the rear. For it is written. Jesus gives a free translation of #De 6:13|. He substitutes the word "worship" for the word "fears." Fear prohibits false and induces true worship, and loving worship is the source of all acceptable service. The three Scripture quotations used by Jesus are all from the book of Deuteronomy. He struck Satan with that very part of the Spirit's sword which modern critical infidelity, in the name of religion, and often aided by so-called religious organizations, seeks to persuade us to cast away. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. By serving God, Jesus obtained all the earthly authority which the devil offered him, and heavenly authority in addition thereto (#Mt 28:18|). So much better are the rewards of God than Satan's. (TFG 99-100) #Mt 4:11| Then the devil leaveth him. See #Jas 4:7|. But Satan left to return many times. Here was the first being endowed with human nature who had defeated Satan under all circumstances for thirty years. This was Satan's first defeat under Christ's ministry. His last is yet to come, and it shall come by this same Christ. Temptations are battles. They leave the victor stronger and the vanquished weaker. Hence Satan when resisted is represented as fleeing. But he only flees for a season. He never despairs of the conflict so long as man is on the earth. Christ was constantly tempted by the returning devil (#Lu 22:28|). As Jesus hung upon the cross, all these three temptations with their accompanying "ifs" were spread out before him (#Mt 27:39-43|). And behold, angels came. They had probably witnessed the contest. Compare #1Co 4:9 1Ti 3:16|. Angels do not appear again visibly ministering unto Jesus until we find him in Gethsemane (#Lu 22:43|). When Satan finally departs from us, we, too, shall find ourselves in the presence of angels (#Lu 16:22|). And ministered unto him. See TFG "#Mr 1:13|". (TFG 100-101) #Mt 4:12| XXVI. JESUS SETS OUT FROM JUDAEA FOR GALILEE. A. REASONS FOR RETIRING TO GALILEE. #Mt 4:12 Mr 1:14 Lu 3:19,20 Joh 4:1-4| Now when he. Jesus. Heard that John was delivered up. He was in Judaea when he heard it. He withdrew into Galilee. See TFG "#Joh 4:3|". (TFG 139) #Mt 4:13| XXIX. JESUS' TEMPORARY RESIDENCE AT CAPERNAUM. #Mt 4:13-16| And leaving Nazareth. This expression means that Jesus now ceased to make Nazareth his home. For description of Nazareth, see TFG "Lu 2:51". He came and dwelt in Capernaum. See TFG "#Joh 2:12|". Capernaum means "city of Nahum," or "village of consolation." Its modern name, Tel-Hum, means "hill of Nahum." The word "dwelt" means that Jesus made this town his headquarters. He owned no house there (#Mt 8:20|). He may have dwelt with some of his disciples--for instance, Simon Peter (#Mt 8:14-16|). In the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. Capernaum was in Naphtali, and the border of the tribe of Zebulun was three or four miles south of it. This part of the country was densely populated, and had in it many choice spirits such as Jesus chose for his apostles. (TFG 160) #Mt 4:14| That it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet. #Isa 8:21-9:2|. (TFG 160) #Mt 4:15| The land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. This land or region was the first to suffer in the beginning of those wars which finally resulted in the captivity of the ten tribes. The people of this district were smitten by Benhadad (#1Ki 15:20|), and afterwards by Tiglath-pileser (#2Ki 15:29 1Ch 5:26|), some time before the general captivity of the ten tribes (#2Ki 17:6|). It is called "Galilee of the Gentiles," because it was, according to Strabo and others, inhabited by Egyptians, Arabians, and Phoenicians, as well as by Hebrews. (TFG 160) #Mt 4:16| The people that sat in darkness saw great light, etc. Those who by reason of their ignorance and depravity suffered the torments of war, and sat as it were under the shadow of the wing of death, were designated by prophecies as the class among whom the light of the gospel would spring up in the fullness and richness of its blessing. Jesus, the "Light of the world" (#Joh 8:12 9:5|), fulfilled this prophecy, and apart from him there can be no pretense of its fulfillment. Galilee had its prophets, but the enemies of Jesus themselves bear witness that none of them were great enough "lights" to fulfill this prophecy (#Joh 7:52|). (TFG 161) #Mt 4:17| XXVII. GENERAL ACCOUNT OF JESUS' TEACHING. #Mt 4:17 Mr 1:14,15 Lu 4:14,15| From that time Jesus began to preach. The time here indicated is that of John the Baptist's imprisonment and Jesus' return to Galilee (#Mt 4:12|). This time marked a new period in the public ministry of Jesus. Hitherto he had taught, but he now began to preach. When the voice of his messenger, John, was silenced, the King became his own herald. Paul quoted the Greeks as saying that preaching was "foolishness" (#1Co 1:23|), but following the example here set by Christ, he used it as the appointed means for saving souls. While Matthew gives us many of the earlier incidents of Christ's life, he enters upon the account of his ministry at the time when Jesus returned to Galilee. From that time forward he was probably an eye-witness of the events which he records. And to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. See TFG "#Mr 1:15|". (TFG 155) #Mt 4:18| XXX. JESUS CALLS FOUR FISHERMEN TO FOLLOW HIM. (Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum.) #Mt 4:18-22 Mr 1:16-20 Lu 5:1-11| Walking by the Sea of Galilee, etc. See TFG "#Mr 1:16|". #Mt 4:19| Come ye after me, etc. See TFG "#Mr 1:17|". #Mt 4:20| And they straightway left the nets. That is to say, Peter and Andrew. See TFG "#Mr 1:20|". #Mt 4:21| James . . . and John his brother. See TFG "#Mr 1:19|". #Mt 4:22| And they straightway left the boat and their father. That is, James and John. See TFG "#Mr 1:20|". #Mt 4:23| XXXIII. JESUS MAKES A PREACHING TOUR THROUGH GALILEE. #Mt 4:23-25 Mr 1:35-39 Lu 4:42-44| Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues. See TFG "#Mr 1:39|". #Mt 4:24| And the report of him went forth into all Syria. Caravans passing through Galilee back and forth between the Mediterranean seaports on the west and the Persian cities on the east, and between Damascus on the north and Egypt on the south, would carry the reports concerning Jesus far and wide. And they brought unto him all that were sick, holden with divers diseases and torments, possessed with demons, and epileptic, and palsied; and he healed them. Thus, by his actions, Jesus showed that the kingdom of God had come. The wonders of Moses were mostly miracles of judgment, those of Jesus were acts of compassion. The diseases here enumerated are still among the most difficult for physicians to handle. The term "palsy" included all forms of paralysis, catalepsy, and cramps. See TFG "#Mr 2:3|". (TFG 175) #Mt 4:25| There followed him great multitudes of people. These popular demonstration, no doubt, intensified the erroneous notion of his disciples that the kingdom of Jesus was to be one of worldly grandeur. Decapolis. The word is formed from the two Greek words deka, "ten," and polis, "city." As a geographical term, "Decapolis" refers to that part of Syria lying east, southeast, and south of the Lake of Galilee. There is some doubt as to which were the ten cities named, for there seem at times to have been fourteen of them. Those commonly reckoned are 1. Damascus. 2. Philadelphia. 3. Raphana. 4. Sycthopolis. 5. Gadara. 6. Hyppos. 7. Dion. 8. Pella. 9. Galas. 10. Kanatha. The other four are Abila and Kanata (distinct from Kanatha), Caesarea Philippi, and Gergesa. None of these were in Galilee save Sycthopolis. According to Ritter, these cities were colonized principally by veterans from the army of Alexander the Great. A reminiscence of their Macedonian origin is found in the fact that there was a city named Pella in Macedonia. These cities are said to have been formed into a confederacy by Pompey the Great. In the time of Jesus they were chiefly inhabited by Greeks or heathens, and not by Jews. Josephus expressly calls Gadara and Hyppos Greek cities. Beyond the Jordan. The land beyond Jordan was called Peraea, which means "beyond." According to Josephus, it included territory between the cities of Pella on the north and Machaerus on the south. That is to say, its northern boundary began on the Jordan opposite the southern line of Galilee, and its southern boundary was at Moab, about the middle of the east shore of the Dead Sea. (TFG 175-176)
Copyright information for TFG
Welcome to STEP Bible
From Tyndale House, Cambridge UK
Use the search box to find Bibles, commentaries, passages, search terms, etc. Here are some examples:
This shows how to quickly lookup a passage.
Looking up a passage in three different translations is also easy.
This asks STEP to search for the Greek word for 'brother' and show the results in the ESV.
This example runs both a 'Hebrew word search' and a 'Text' search and shows the results in both the NIV and ESV.
You can mix most searches. This finds any word translated as 'throne' in the Prophets and the New Testament, but only in verses concerning the topic 'David'. This excludes verses which refer to a 'throne' in other contexts.
Interlinear Hebrew & Greek is available for some translations with grammar (and more soon). To reverse the interlinear order, click on a version abbreviation under the verse number.
© Tyndale House, Cambridge, UK - 2018