Matthew Four

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

tempted. Jesus was God incarnate, and “God cannot be tempted with evil” (James 1:13). Although both Father and Son knew He could not sin, He must be “tested” (a better connotation of the word than “tempted”), so that the world and the devil would also know.

devil. The devil had tempted Eve and (indirectly) Adam with a three-fold temptation, in body, soul and spirit (“good for food,” “pleasant to the eyes,” “make one wise”—Genesis 3:6), and they had failed the test. All other men would fail the same test, succumbing to “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (xTerm 2:16). Jesus, as Son of man, was subjected to the same three-fold testing and passed the test. Furthermore, He did it in His humanity, without recourse to His power as Son of God, and He did it—as we can—through believing and applying the resources of God's written word.

Matthew 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.

Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

It is written. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3. This testing targeted His urgent physical need, the second (Matthew 4:6) appealed to His human desire for recognition and approval, which He turned back by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16. Finally, the third testing (Matthew 4:9) offered the immediate attainment of His spiritual goal of making the entire world His own kingdom of peace and love, but He refuted this by referring to Deuteronomy 10:20. It is noteworthy that, in Matthew's gospel alone, Jesus quotes from the Old Testament at least thirty-nine times.

Matthew 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

Matthew 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

it is written. Satan also knows the Scriptures, but he will attempt to distort them to his own ends. Here he quotes from Psalm 91:11-12, but takes it out of context, and omits the key phrase, “to keep thee in all thy ways.”

Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

Matthew 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

worship me. Satan desires to displace God and receive the worship due only to Him. This was the occasion of His own fall from heaven in the first place (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-19). He still harbors the delusion that this is possible, and has managed to delude Adam and Eve and countless others in similar fashion, but He was unable to deceive Jesus.

Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Matthew 4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;

Matthew 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:

Matthew 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

be fulfilled. The prophecy spoken of in Matthew 4:15-16 is found in Isaiah 9:1-2, which provides the background of the tremendous prophecy of the name of Emmanuel—“Wonderful Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Much of Jesus' early teaching ministry was carried out in Galilee, especially Capernaum, and at least His first six disciples came from there (Matthew 4:18-22; also John 1:35-51).

Matthew 4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;

Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Matthew 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

straightway. The immediate response of Peter and Andrew is probably explained by their earlier experience following John the Baptist and then their encounter with Jesus. See John 1:35-42.

Matthew 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

Matthew 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

gospel of the kingdom. This is the first mention of “gospel” in the New Testament. It is significant that this beginning of the gospel looks forward to the future kingdom, when Christ will finally be acknowledged as King of kings. Compare with the final mention of “gospel” (Revelation 14:6-7), which looks back to the creation. The gospel (good news) of Christ thus embraces all aspects—past, present, future—of His great work, from creation to consummation. The central focus of the gospel (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) is on the substitutionary death of our Creator for our sins, followed by His burial, and then His glorious victory over sin and death by His bodily resurrection.

Matthew 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

lunatick. There is a definite difference between demon possession and lunacy (or mental illness, as it is called today). Modern naturalists deny the existence of demons, attributing so-called demon possession to some form of psychological disturbance. The Bible recognizes both types of problems, however, and so did Jesus. Furthermore, He was able with just a word to cast out demons and also to cure those who were “lunatics” (a generic term that could apply to any type of mental sickness), as well as “all manner of disease.” This was a shadow of His coming eternal kingdom, when there will be no more pain or sickness (Revelation 21:4-5).

Matthew 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.