Today: [Matthew 4] Jesus is Tempted of the Devil. Have you been tempted as Jesus was tempted of Satan? Jesus is tempted in ch. 4 of Matthew to prove who He was by some outward sign. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever been asked because of your faith “who do you think you are?” We can learn from the account of Jesus’ temptation how to deal with the same situation in our lives. The end result for Jesus was the commencement of His ministry. Are you wondering when your ministry is going to start? This chapter will help you find your way.
[Mat 4:1-25 KJV] 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.
After Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. The place where this happened could not have been far from the area where he was baptized because John’s ministry is described as being a voice in the wilderness. What we are seeing then, is the Holy Spirit descending like a dove upon Jesus and then that same Holy Spirit compelling Jesus to go into a challenging situation to fulfill the purposes of God. In Acts 1:4-5 at the ascension, Jesus makes reference to water baptism in connection with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is obviously two different things. It is also deeply connected with what happened to Jesus on the banks of the Jordan when John identified Him, then the Spirit came upon Him and consequently compelled Him into the wilderness for a confrontation with the enemy.
What about us? We can and should be baptized in water. What next? Most people when baptized do not experience open visions or have doves descend from heaven or hear voices. Most people when baptized in water do not come out of the water speaking in tongues. Yet there is a connection evidently in Jesus’ mind according to Acts 1:4-5 with water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism. It is something that Jesus’ last instructions to His followers was very clear regarding. Wait upon the promise of the Father. What is the end result supposed to be? Acts 1:8 tells us:
[Act 1:8 KJV] 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Jesus is not only speaking of what would happen to those who obeyed Him but what happened to Him on the banks of the Jordan that day at the beginning of His ministry and what every one of us should expect if we follow the instructions that 120 of the 500 gathered to witness the ascension of Christ did in fact receive – power to become witnesses, confronting the world with the claims of Christ through the instrumentality of a life empowered by the experience of receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
After the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness v. 3 tells us that the tempter came to Him. Who was this tempter? Was it simply a voice of accusation that came to Him? Was it through human instrumentality as in the case of Judas when he took the sop Jesus offered him and Satan entered him, and he went out and betrayed his master? We don’t have those details, but we do see what Satan was trying to get Jesus to do through the temptation: In v. 3 and again in v.6 the question or the challenge is “if you are the son of God then do thus and so…” This is interesting because the enemy is not attempting to get Jesus to question whether or not He was the son of God. Rather the enemy was attempting to get Jesus to PROVE He was the son of God by doing something outward, by some outward sign or miracle.
Many assume that the temptation was to break a fast and eat something but notice v. 2 tells us that Jesus’ fast is over. It reads that “he was AFTERWARD hundred…” So it would have been no sin for Jesus to eat something because His fast was concluded. He no doubt was thinking about finding some food and being a long way from civilization and on foot the enemy tempted him by convenience to do something no doubt Jesus was capable of doing – to turn stones to bread. To prove He was the son of God by doing this thing.
What about you? Have you ever been tempted to take shortcuts? Have you ever had your beliefs challenged by those close to you? What Satan is asking Jesus is “who do you think you are” and following up with “prove it!” Many times, in our faith because we believe in the miraculous we are tempted to put more confidence and credence on the miraculous as though that is a basis of validating who we are in God. That is a ploy of the enemy. Jesus’ sense of who He was did not base itself on outward signs or proofs. It is what was on the inside of Him – His relationship with the Father that authenticated His sonship and it should be the same for you. We have nothing to prove to the world. Our glory is not in any outward proof but in the inward reality of who God is on the inside of us. This is what Jesus meant when He told us in Luke 17:20-21 that were not to look outwardly because the kingdom of God (whatever Jesus considered the kingdom of God to be) was on the inside of us, and any outward proof, belief, sign or dependency was a misdirection. Trust who God is on the inside of you. Let your dependency be on who He is within your own heart and then you are on the path that leads to life.
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.
After Jesus dealt with the tempter v. 11 tells us angels came and ministered to Him. Have you ever wished to interact with angels? They will come to you in the aftermath of resisting the type of temptations that Jesus endured in the wilderness.
The next thing that happens is that word comes to Jesus that John the Baptist is in prison. The only person who really got Jesus and understood who He was is in trouble. Jesus hears this and makes a move to leave Nazareth where his life has played out for 30 years and go to Capernaum in fulfillment of scripture that those that dwelled in darkness would see a great light. Jesus’ message was the same as John’s, according to v. 17 “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…” Notice that the message of repentance is connected with the coming of the kingdom. For the last few decades the coming of Christ and the immediacy of sweeping change by the hand of God as an immediate expectation has been severely criticized by leaders, authors and respected speakers in the body of Christ. They mock and make fun of those who still believe in “the rapture” of the saints. They tell you that you just aren’t “with it” if you are believing in what they allege is a religious fairy tale, and that those who have cast off such thinking are the “really deep Christians”. Let us be clear: the message of repentance Jesus taught cannot be echoed in our own lives outside the context and the connection with a strong emphasis on the coming of the kingdom. It sets a time frame on the call – act now, repent now, time is short. That is not the message that Christian culture is embracing right now – to their own hurt.
After preaching and gaining some notoriety Jesus encounters Peter and Andrew. Notice what He tells them in v. 19: “… follow Me and I will make you…” What exactly does that mean? What was Jesus inviting them to do? One aspect of the wording hear means “to lighten the ship”. Are you living life under a heavy load? Jesus is saying follow Me and I will make life’s load easier to bear. The word make also means “to spend”. Jesus could be understood to say then “follow Me and I will spend you”. Are you willing to be change in His pocket? This is more than a sentiment. Jesus called these men to drop everything and follow after Him. Are you spendable? Are you bendable, spendable and sendable? This is the call of Christ upon you today as sure as it was upon Andrew and Peter standing there with their nets and their fish. V. 20 says that straightway they left their nets and followed Him. Your response time to God is a measurement of His response to you. Act promptly!
Shortly after Jesus gathered up James and John and this little band of adventurers began itinerating with Jesus who taught and preached the gospel of the kingdom with accompanying sings, miracles, wonders healings and deliverances. You cannot separate the gospel from healing and the miraculous. Jesus’ fame spread in the area and all those with torments, diseases and those that were possessed with. Devils came to Him and He healed them. Is it any different today? Is there any shortage of tormented, sick, demon possessed people? Surely no. But notice Jesus didn’t do any of these things, or heal one person until He had some followers who were willing to go after Him. When Jesus has people who are spendable in His hands then the miraculous will be made manifest. What does that say about the dearth of miracles today? They are so absent that most of Christianity claims that those days are over. The observation could be made however is that what is truly lacking is a depth of abandonment to leave all and follow Him.
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