Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 4

Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 4

Adapted from manuscript notes written from 2003 to 2010

By

Michael Fernandez

A detailed commentary on Matthew’s Gospel adapted from manuscript notes originally written between 2003-2010 and updated with newer information and improved references as the transcription process continues.  All Scriptures cited are from the New King James Version (NKJV/NKJ) unless otherwise noted.

MATTHEW CHAPTER 4 COMMENTARY

[The text of Matthew 4 in its entirety follows the commentary for those without immediate access to a Bible.]

4:1-11   Jesus’ Temptations

  • Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (tried).

Compare Luke 4:1-12, and note: “Led by the Spirit.”[i]

4:2       40 Days and 40 Nights

  • The fact that Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights is a testimony to His being upheld by God. No man can do this for so long unless God sustains him.
  • Compare Moses’ similar period on Mt. Sinai. Exodus 24:18; 34:28[ii].
  • Without either supernatural intervention or one being a supernatural being, one cannot go without water for more than 10 to 14 days (less depending on the temperature and other factors) before the body begins to shut down, with death following within a day or two if no water is forthcoming. That Jesus went 40 days and 40 nights without food or water demonstrates His favor with God and may, but not necessarily, be a sign of His Deity.

4:4-10   Jesus’ Response to Temptation

  • Jesus’ response to temptation was not just using the Word of God, but the right use of the Word of God. The right use is every bit as important, perhaps even more important, than any use.  Thus Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to diligence that he might rightly use the Word of God, cf. 2nd Timothy 2:15[iii],
  • Compare:

v4 with Deuteronomy 8:3

(3)  So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.

v7 with Deuteronomy 6:16

(16)  “You shall not tempt the LORD your God as you tempted Him in Massah.

 v10 with Deuteronomy 6:13

(13)  You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name.

  • Note how the devil will also quote Scripture (out of context) to cause one to err. Compare v6 with Psalm 91:11-12

(11)  For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.

(12)  In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

4:9       The Devil’s Authority

  • The Devil did have authority/ownership of the “[K]ingdoms of this world,” but he did not, does not own the world itself. The (whole) earth is the Lord’s!  It is a world damaged by sin, to be sure, but God owns it.  It is the “world system” that is under the Devil’s authority.
  • Compare:

Psalms 24:1

(1)  A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

Psalms 89:11

(11)  The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.

4:13-16 Prophecy Fulfilled

  • Fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1, 2.

“(1)  Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles.

(2)  The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.”

4:17      Repent!

  • See also Matthew 3:2 and notes below[iv].
  • That Jesus preached repentance demonstrates that repentance from dead works is, has been, and will be a part of God’s plan of salvation.
  • We are not saved by works. However, salvation does involve salvation from sin.  Repentance is the outward manifestation of the work of God in one’s heart.
  • That it may be seen that repentance was a part of God’s plan of salvation in times past (i.e., before Christ’s advent), see Ezekiel 14:6; 18:30:

Ezekiel 14:6

“(6)  “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.”

Ezekiel 18:29

“(29)  Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?”  How often I have heart that complaint in our self-centered, worldly age.

  • That Jesus announces to people that they are to repent demonstrates that this was part of His message, part of The Gospel.
  • That it may be seen that the Apostles understood that God’s plan of salvation included repentance, see: Acts 2:38; 17:30; 2nd Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 6:1; 2nd Peter 3:9[v].
  • Repentance, like the salvation itself, is a part of, the gift of God, not a work of man or man’s will, cf. Acts 5:31; 11:18:

Acts 5:31

“(31)  Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 11:18

“(18)  When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.””

Matthew 4:1-25 NKJV

(1)  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

(2)  And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.

(3)  Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

(4)  But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.’ “

(5)  Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,

(6)  and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER YOU,’ and, IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU DASH YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’ “

(7)  Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD.’ “

(8)  Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

(9)  And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

(10)  Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.’ “

(11)  Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

(12)  Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee.

(13)  And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,

(14)  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

(15)  “THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES:

(16)  THE PEOPLE WHO SAT IN DARKNESS HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT, AND UPON THOSE WHO SAT IN THE REGION AND SHADOW OF DEATH LIGHT HAS DAWNED.”

(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 brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.

(19)  Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

(20)  They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

(21)  Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them,

(22)  and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

(23)  And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

(24)  Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.

(25)  Great multitudes followed Him–from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

[i] Luke 4:1-12

(1)  Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

(2)  being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

(3)  And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

(4)  But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD OF GOD.’ “

(5)  Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

(6)  And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

(7)  Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”

(8)  And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.’ “

(9)  Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.

(10)  For it is written: ‘HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER YOU, TO KEEP YOU,’

(11)  and, ‘IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU DASH YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’ “

(12)  And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD.’ “

 

LED BY THE SPIRIT

  • See also Matthew 4:1, compare Mark 1:12 (Immediately following). Both Matthew and Luke use Greek words that are generally translated as “led” (Matthew – {ανηχθη G321 V-API-3S}, Luke – ηγετο {G71 V-IPI-3S}), Mark uses the Greek term εκβαλλει (G1544 V-PAI-3S), meaning “drove” or “thrust.”  This is not a contradiction.  Both the Greek terms translated as “led” are used in the context of “compulsion” that is, to be led by compulsion or thrust into the wilderness are conceptually synonymous.

Mark 1:12

(12)  Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.

[ii] Exodus 24:18; 34:28

Exodus 24:18

(18)  So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 34:28

(28)  So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

[iii] 2 Timothy 2:15

(15)  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

[iv] https://sovereigngracebroadcaster.wordpress.com/?p=71&preview=true#_edn2

[v] Acts 2:38; 17:30; 2nd Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 6:1; 2nd Peter 3:9

Acts 2:38

(38)  Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 17:30

(30)  Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

2 Corinthians 7:10

(10)  For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Hebrews 6:1

(1)  Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

2 Peter 3:9

(9)  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

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