Matthew 4

The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit, which if rightly handled, will deal defeat to Satan in his attempts to snare the believer by tempting suggestions. Beware of Satanic twisting of Scripture “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

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

2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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 lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

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

Matthew 4:1-11 – ​Tempted by the Devil

   Then marks the close connection between the heavenly voice of the baptism and the fiery ordeal of the forty days. Notice that temptation is not in itself sin; only when the evil suggestions of the tempter are harbored do they become sin. Notice also that all around us is a dark region of evil, out of which temptations arise. Whenever you have received a conspicuous revelation, you may expect a time of testing. This is God’s way of rooting the trees in the soil, and burning in the fair colors which He paints on the vessels that are being made meet for His use.
   The first temptation was that our Lord should use for His physical needs the power which had been entrusted to Him, as Son of man, for the service of men. The second was an effort to incite Him to act presumptuously, at the dictate of self-will and apart from the clear guidance of God’s Spirit. The third was to attain the throne by a wrong method. It was only by the cross that He could win power to rule and save. See Hebrews 4:15-16; 5:8-9. —Through the Bible Day by Day

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

​   Yesterday, the opened heavens; today, the burning cinders of the wilderness of temptation. Then the voice of the Father owning Him as the Well-beloved; now the hiss of the tempter. Then the teeming crowds; now the desert solitude and silence, broken only by the cry of the wild beast. Then the Spirit as a nesting dove, but now as a compelling force. Wherever there is the Christ-life, it passes through these same experiences. The Holy Spirit often anticipates coming trial by granting some great revelation of God; but He who gives the one leads into the other, that the precious bestowments of God’s grace may be rendered permanent.
   Would you give the bread of life to thousands? You must refuse to use your opportunity to make bread for your own gratification. You cannot use your power for others and for yourself. If you elect to use it for them, you must be content to wait till the Father sends his angels to minister to you. In the meanwhile live by faith on his words.
   Would you teach the magnificence of a faith that can trust God to preserve it, though it steps from the mountain brow on to thin air? You must refuse to use it for purposes of ostentation; and wait till God, not Satan, calls.
   Would you win the kingdoms of the world? You must obtain them, not by methods which commend themselves to human prudence, but through the death of the cross and the falling into the ground to die. There are two mountains in the Gospel: this, as it opens; that of the Ascension at its close. The valley of death lies between. But the traversing of this valley was necessary, ere Christ could say, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). —Our Daily Homily

Matthew 4:1 – Only those temptations which we encounter on the way of duty, in the path of consecration, only those has our Lord promised us that we shall conquer. If you are in temptation for temptation’s sake, with no purpose beyond it, you are lost. (Phillips Brooks)

Matthew 4:5-6, 11 – Faith melts promises into arguments as the soldier doth lead into bullets, and then helps the Christian to send them with a force to heaven in fervent prayer; whereas a promise in an unbeliever’s mouth is like a shot in a gun’s mouth without any fire to put to it. (Gurnall)

Matthew 4:9 – Rowland Hill once began his sermon by saying, “My friends, the other day I was going down the street, and I saw a drove of pigs following a man. This excited my curiosity so much that I determined to follow. I did so; and, to my great surprise, I saw them follow him to the slaughter-house. I was anxious to know how this was brought about; and I said to the man, ‘My friend, how did you manage to induce these pigs to follow you here?’ – ‘Oh! did you not see?’ said the man. ‘I had a basket of beans under my arm; and I dropped a few as I came along, and so they followed me.'” “Yes,” said the preacher; “and I thought, so it is the devil has his basket of beans under his arm; and he drops them as he goes along: and what multitudes he induces to follow him to an everlasting slaughter-house! Yes, friends; and all your broad and crowded thoroughfares are strewn with the beans of the devil.” (Moody)

Matthew 4:12-17 – ​The Light Begins to Shine

   Our Lord’s earliest ministry seems to have been centered in Jerusalem and its contiguous villages. See John 2-3. But on the news of the Baptist’s imprisonment, He took up His testimony to the hearers of the heavenly kingdom, which is the reign of God over the hearts and lives of men. Someone has said that it is “the universal awareness of God.” Yet there was a difference! At the commencement of His work, the Savior showed a tenderness and a winsomeness which were very inviting to the crowds of harried sheep. See Matthew 9:36. His ministry resembled the gentle, holy dawn that breaks over the mountains and dispels the black shadows of the night. The evangelist quotes the prophet’s anticipation of the coming of Him who is called “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). Oh, do not be afraid when Jesus comes to your heart! You may be as far away from goodness and purity as Naphtali and Zebulun from Jerusalem, but Galilee of the Gentiles is included in John 3:16. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 4:18-25 – ​Opening Works of Mercy and Power

   We must read the first chapter of John into the opening paragraph. Already the Lord had met with these first disciples in the Jordan valley; but they had returned to their homes and nets. Their prompt surrender was the result of the power over their hearts which the Master had already won. Their old craft was to be theirs still—only in a nobler form. The patience, courage, tact which had been elicited by their calling, were now to be enlisted in the service of souls.
   The evangelist then groups together the broad features of the early Galilean ministry. It was a triumphal progress. Notice the reiteration of all, Matthew 4:23. The words struggle to convey the wide comprehensiveness of Christ’s influence, even across the border. When the love of God came to our world in the person of Jesus, it immediately began to repair the havoc and damage which sin had caused. There was no hesitation or questioning where it was God’s will to heal. Let us always take that for granted for ourselves and others. —Through the Bible Day by Day