Scripture reading – Luke 3; Matthew 4

We have seen Jesus baptized by John the Baptist, and confirmed by “the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him” (Matthew 3:16). Matthew writes that God the Father confessed of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (3:17). After His baptism, Jesus retreated, and was “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness [desert] to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 4:1)

Matthew 4 – Overcoming Temptation

Jesus was sequestered in the wilderness for forty days, and was “tempted of the devil” (4:2-11). We notice three tests or temptation Jesus faced.

The devil tempted Jesus to question God’s providential care for His Son (4:3-4). The devil tempted Jesus to satisfy His hunger by performing a miracle, and turning stones to bread, apart from God’s will (4:3-4). Jesus answered the temptation with Scripture saying, “man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

The second temptation questioned the divinity of Jesus as the Son of God. Daring to provoke sinful pride in Jesus, the devil demanded, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down” (4:6). Notice the devil quoted Scripture, and said, “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” (Psalm 91:11, 12). Like sinners who know enough Scripture to be a stumbling stone to others, the devil left out a crucial phrase in the quote: “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all Thy ways” (Ps. 91:11b). Again, Jesus answered the devil’s temptation, and quoted Deuteronomy 6:16, “Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God.”

The devil came and made a third, and final effort to tempt Jesus to sin. That wicked one endeavored to entice Jesus to sin, and offered Him the “kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them” (4:8). Jesus answered the temptation, quoting the Law, “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve” (Deuteronomy 10:20a).

Calling the Disciples (4:12-22)

With the temptation ended, Jesus journeyed to Nazareth, and soon after began His public ministry in Capernaum, located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee (4:12-13), and fulfilling yet another prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 9:1-2). Bringing spiritual light to “the people which sat in darkness” (4:16), Jesus “began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (4:17). He then began to call the Twelve who would serve as His disciples (students), beginning with Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, James, and John, both sons of Zebedee (4:18-22). Leaving everything behind, Peter and Andrew “straightway left their nets” (4:19), and James and John “immediately left the ship and their father, and followed” Jesus (4:22).

Closing thoughts – Notice temptations usually arise from the common, mundane choices of everyday life. The devil tempted Jesus with things that were common: hunger and physical desires (4:3-4), pride (by distorting the Scriptures, 4:6), and lusts for power and possessions (4:8). For every temptation, Jesus answered with Scripture, quoting the Law and Commandments.

Challenge: Every believer should have a practical knowledge of the Scriptures, and an ability to quote relevant verses when they face temptation. Jesus responded to each temptation with a Bible principle founded upon the Law and Commandments.

Psalm 119:9–119Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, That I might not sin against thee.

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