Matthew 4:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 4:2, NIV: After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

Matthew 4:2, ESV: And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

Matthew 4:2, KJV: And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

Matthew 4:2, NASB: And after He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.

Matthew 4:2, NLT: For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

Matthew 4:2, CSB: After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

What does Matthew 4:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

God the Holy Spirit came to rest on Jesus during His baptism by John in the Jordan River. Now God's Spirit has led Jesus, the Son of God, into the wilderness for a time of testing during which Christ will be tempted to sin by Satan. This time of testing demonstrates that Jesus is sinless despite experiencing temptation as any human does (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus' time in the wilderness begins with 40 days and nights of fasting. "Fasting" is often misunderstood as requiring absolutely no food or water; however, there are different kinds of fasts. Commentators suggest that Jesus may well have gone the entire time without any food—or at least with very, very little. However, it's not likely He went without water. Jesus endured all His earthly trials as a fully human man, while also retaining His eternal status as God's Son.

Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness were an intentional echo of the Israelites' 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Matthew repeatedly connects Jesus' experience to that of God's "son" Israel. This includes Jesus' return to Israel from Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15) and several other specific echoes of Scripture. Matthew means for his readers to see that Jesus is both a true Israelite, and the perfect fulfillment of God's relationship with Israel.

Matthew's words about Jesus' condition sound like an understatement: Jesus was hungry. Yet this comment matters. Jesus did not supernaturally do away with his appetite for food. He felt it. He would have been physically weak with a body desperate to eat. The temptations to follow will be presented to Him while He is in that physical condition. These events serve to emphasize that Jesus did not overcome temptation by "cheating;" He endured as a human being.