Matthew 4

Matthew 4:1

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

Tempted by the devil. The devil tempted first Adam in the garden and in the wilderness he attempted to tempt Last Adam. On both occasions he baited his line with three temptations: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and pride of life (1 John 2:16).

Matthew 4:3

And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

(a) The tempter. God will never tempt you to evil (Jas. 1:13), so those who would tempt you are doing the work of the tempter (i.e., the devil; 1 Th. 3:5).

(b) These stones. The stones represent the law. The tempter will tempt you to find your sustenance through the law. If he can get you to rely on your law-keeping performance, you will have fallen from grace and cut yourself off from Christ (see entry for Gal. 5:4).

Matthew 4:7

Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”

The Lord your God. Although the Old Testament is riddled with a variety of names for God, the New Testament has relatively few. Most of the time when Jesus spoke about God, he called him Father (see entry for Luke 2:49). But when speaking to the devil he called him Lord God.

Matthew 4:17

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

Repent. To repent means to change your mind. In context, it means changing your mind about Christ and the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4). “Change your unbelieving mind and believe the glad tidings of the kingdom that has come.” See entry for Repentance.

Matthew 4:21

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; and He called them.

James… and John. The mother of the sons of Zebedee was present at the crucifixion. If this woman was also the sister of Jesus’ mother Mary, James and John were Jesus’ cousins (see entry for Matt. 27:56).

Matthew 4:23

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

(a) The gospel revealed in the Bible goes by several names. There is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1) or the gospel of Christ (Rom. 15:19, 1 Cor. 9:12, 2 Cor. 2:12, 9:13, 10:14, Gal. 1:7, Php. 1:27, 1 Th. 3:2). There is the gospel of God (Mark 1:14, Rom 1:1, 15:16, 2 Cor. 11:7, 1 Th. 2:2, 8, 9, 1 Pet. 4:17), gospel of the blessed God (1 Tim. 1:11), and the gospel of his Son (Rom 1:9). There is the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 9:35, 24:14, Luke 16:16), and the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). These are different labels for the one and only gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). See entry for The Gospel.

(b) The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of the King Jesus’ dominion and reign on earth as it is in heaven. This kingdom is not far away but right here (Mark 1:14-15).

(c) Proclaiming… and healing. The gospel of the kingdom is a show and tell gospel. When we preach the good news, the Holy Spirit confirms the word with supernatural signs (Mark 16:20).

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