Bible Study Notes on Matthew 4 – 20171205

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Bible Study Notes

Matthew 4:1  “…led up by the Spirit…to be tempted by the devil”
I asked myself why.  Commentaries suggest the Spirit led Him out for testing, but satan arrived to treat Him as he does all mankind.  So why any of it.  I think after the episode of the baptism He begins His path as our redeemer by identifying with the lowest of us.  His faith and reliance on God is tested, and satan is allowed to temp Him to do evil just as satan does to us.  By going through that, He can totally relate to anything we might go through, and show us how to handle any situation in a Godly manner.  I think Christ came not only to redeem us, but to also show us how to be the humans that God created us to be.  Our sin nature so completely alters our perception of the world and God’s truth that we can’t understand how to be what we should on our own.  So Christ doesn’t just save us and then leave us to flounder by ourselves.  He is our sacrifice and our supreme example.

5-6  “…the devil…said to Him…it is written…”
After the first temptation, Jesus responded to satan by quoting scripture.  Satan was a quick study.  His next temptation included scripture in an attempt to make it support his claims.  He is an expert at twisting the truth.  He is the father of lies, but he has learned that the way to get someone to swallow a lie is to add enough truth to it to make it palatable.

3-9  “…command that these stones become bread…throw Yourself down…fall down and worship me”
The three temptations were to give in to fleshly desires, to manipulate God into doing what He wanted, and to worship satan instead of God.  Our bodily desires are natural and normal, but they are to be under our control.  We’re not to be under theirs.  It’s easy to justify our requests to God by quoting some scripture regarding His care for us, but doing so may be an attempt to use His words against Him, to manipulate Him for our benefit.  I think the easiest commandment to break is the first.  We can find anything to put in the place of God, including ourselves.

10  “Then Jesus said to him…”
Jesus is one of the three persons of the Trinity.  He is Almighty God, the Creator of all things, including satan.  He can speak directly to him as He sees fit.  This doesn’t mean that we can.  Our only authority comes as Christ’s servants.  When we have to deal with satan, we should do it through Christ.  Ask Him to deal with the deceiver.

12  “Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee.”
From what we read in the other gospels, some time has passed between His wilderness temptation and now.  Not sure how much, but we know of other recorded happenings.  Interesting note here is why it is stated this way.  Why He departed when He heard that John was put into prison.  Some speculate issues with local religious leaders.  I wonder if He was getting out of the way in the event that John’s imprisonment started a cascade effect.  He was God, but He still did things as a man would.  I don’t think He was running away, more of an out-of-sight out-of-mind deal.  As He said several times, His time had not yet come.  He wasn’t ready to be put into the spotlight yet.

17  “…Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”
Same message as John.  Jesus was the answer of the message, of course, but He was pointing people to repentance to get ready for what He would do for them.  A thought:  I wonder if John knew the Messiah would show up in his lifetime.  He knew he was the forerunner.  I wonder if he knew he was just to preach or if he expected the Messiah to show up before he was finished.

18-22  “…Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother…James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother…immediately they left…followed Him”
Jesus already had some disciples prior to this.  Recorded in the other gospels.  Had to get a harmony of the gospels to check.  Luke also expands on this event.  Jesus got into Peter’s boat and was teaching the people on the shore so Peter was probably listening.  Jesus asked him to set out and let the nets down.  When they did, the amount of fish nearly broke the net.  The four obviously realized there was something special about this Man and chose to leave all to follow Him.

23  “…teaching in their synagogues…”
My Bible teacher brought out that Jesus appears to follow different outreach plans during His time here.  He first began going into the synagogues and teaching.  It is interesting to observe His actions with respect to the limitations He placed on Himself as God.  We sometimes wonder why didn’t He do things differently since He was God, but we must remember He humbled Himself as a man.  He reached people where they were.  He came to us.  Primary difference between any religion and Christianity.  God reaching for man instead of man trying to reach God.

25  “…Decapolis…”
The ten cities.  Located around the east side of the sea of Galilee and the Jordan river.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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