Matthew 4

Matthew 4

The Temptation of Jesus

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

  “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

  “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’


  “‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

  “‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Jesus Begins His Ministry

Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

  “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
    the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
  the people dwelling in darkness
    have seen a great light,
  and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
    on them a light has dawned.”

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

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And 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. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Ministers to Great Crowds

And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.


Matthew 4 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

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

Matthew 4:1 NASB 

Wow! What a chapter! Let’s read and re-read this opening verse. Satan didn’t just show up on Jesus’ doorstep as so many of the children’s stories portray. What does the text say? The Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into enemy territory? Wait… what?

An even more intriguing theme in this first verse is the phrase “led by the Spirit into the wildernesss.” Where have we seen that before?

The Old Testament is chock-full of verses describing God leading his people (Israel) into the wilderness. (Exo 13:18; Exo 13:21; Exo 15:13; Exo 15:22; Deu 8:2) We all remember how that turned out. Israel failed their wilderness test. Jesus retraces the steps of His people and then quotes three verses that contrast the specific struggles of the Israelites. Jesus is demonstrating the complete obedience that Israel lacked.

There is one more aspect to consider. The calling God had placed on Jesus’ earthly ministry was vast. His mission, should He choose to accept it, was considered humanly impossible. The testing preceded the calling. We know that God does not tempt us because He is without sin, but He often leads us into situations where our hearts will be exposed. It is in these critical moments that our obedience will unlock the door to our future calling in Christ Jesus.

When Adam and Eve were hiding in the garden, God asked where they were to test their heart response. Moses spent 40 years in the desert before leading God’s people out of Egypt. When Abraham climbed up the mountain, God asked him to sacrifice his son, Isaac to test his obedience. Jesus told Peter that Satan wanted to “sift him like wheat” but Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail the test.  In fact, Paul may have even spent time in the desert of Arabia before returning to Damascus to be used by God.

Before we can fulfill our calling, we will (probably) have to endure some form of testing. The good news is that the pressure of surviving such a test does not depend on our human strength. God has given us victory through Jesus and guidance through the Holy Spirit. We have everything we need to live a holy, obedient life!

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments