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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
Matthew 4

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-11

17. Temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13)

Immediately after being appointed to his messianic ministry, Jesus was tempted by Satan to use his messianic powers in the wrong way. (For the identification of the devil with Satan see Revelation 20:2.) Satan's aim was to make Jesus act according to his own will instead of in obedience to his Father.

Jesus had gone many weeks without eating and was obviously very hungry. Satan therefore used Jesus' natural desire for food to suggest that he should use his supernatural powers to create food and eat it. Jesus knew that food was necessary for a person's physical needs, but he also knew that obedience to God was more important. God alone would decide when and how his fast would end (Matthew 4:1-4).

Living in a world of unbelievers, Jesus could be very frustrated at their refusal to accept him. He was therefore tempted to perform some spectacular feat that would prove once and for all that he was the Son of God. For instance, he could jump from the top of the temple in front of the people, asking God to keep him from being hurt. But to call upon God to save him from an act of suicide would be sin. It would be putting God to the test by demanding that he act in a certain way merely to satisfy an individual's selfish desire (Matthew 4:5-7).

Then came the temptation to gain worldwide rule through compromising with Satan and using his methods to gain power. As the Messiah, Jesus had been promised a worldwide kingdom, but the way to that kingdom was through laying down his life in sacrifice. God wants people to enter his kingdom because they have a willing desire to serve him, not because they are the helpless subjects of force or cunning (Matthew 4:8-10).

In each case Jesus answered the temptations by quoting principles taken directly from the Scriptures. All the references were to the experiences of Israel in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 6:16; Deuteronomy 8:3), suggesting again the identification that the Messiah felt with his people in their varied experiences.

These were not Satan's only temptations (Luke 4:13). Jesus continued to be tempted with suggestions to put his physical needs before his Father's will (see John 4:31-34), to prove his messiahship to unbelievers by performing miracles (see Matthew 16:1-4) and to gain a kingdom through any way but the cross (see Matthew 16:21-23; John 6:15).


Verses 12-17

EARLY WORK IN GALILEE

24. Changing situations (Matthew 4:12-17; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 3:18-20; Luke 4:14-15; John 4:43-45)

Somewhere about this time John the Baptist was imprisoned. (Concerning his imprisonment see notes on Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9.) Jesus meanwhile continued north into Galilee, where the people's enthusiastic welcome was in sharp contrast to the suspicion of the people in Judea (Matthew 4:12-16; John 4:43-45). He pointed out, however, that the kingdom he announced was not for those seeking political or material benefits. It was only for those who humbly and wholeheartedly turned from their sins (Matthew 4:17).


Verses 18-22

27. Call of Peter, Andrew, James and John (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11)

From the hills of Nazareth the story moves to the fishing villages of Capernaum and Bethsaida on the northern shore of Lake Galilee. The fishermen brothers Peter and Andrew had already met Jesus and accepted him as the Messiah. So too, it seems, had another pair of fishermen brothers, James and John (see notes on John 1:35-42). Jesus now asked the four men to take the further step of leaving their occupations so that they could become his followers in the task of bringing people into the kingdom God (Mark 1:16-20).

Peter learnt more of what lay ahead when, after a day on which they had caught no fish, Jesus told him to let down the nets again. Peter obeyed, with the result that he caught so many fish the nets almost broke (Luke 5:1-7). The incident impressed upon Peter that Jesus was indeed Lord, and in humble submission he fell at the feet of Jesus and confessed his sinfulness (Luke 5:8-11).

Note: The Sea (or Lake) of Galilee, the Sea (or Lake) of Gennesaret, and the Sea (or Lake) of Tiberias were three names for the same place.

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Matthew 4:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/matthew-4.html. 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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