Matthew chapter 4

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What does Matthew chapter 4 mean?

Matthew 3 ended with the Holy Spirit coming to rest on Jesus as He came out of the water following His baptism by John the Baptist, along with the voice of God the Father declaring that Jesus was His beloved Son (Matthew 3:16–17).

The Holy Spirit immediately leads Jesus from that moment of confirmation and validation into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. It's important to note this time of testing was part of God's plan for Jesus. It would show that, though Jesus was fully human, and fully God, He remained fully sinless in the face of temptation (Matthew 4:1).

Jesus fasts for 40 days and nights. "Fasting" does not always involve taking in no food of water, ever, at all, for the entire time period. Jesus almost certainly drank water during this time. It's possible, though, that He might not have eaten at all before Satan arrives to tempt Him. Satan tempts Jesus first to turn stones to bread to feed Himself. The temptation here is to do something "right," but at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. Jesus properly responds by showing His willingness to depend on God's provision, not His own power (Matthew 4:2–4).

Satan's next temptation is for Jesus to jump from the highest part of the temple in Jerusalem and have the angels save Him from the fall. Part of this temptation involves a twisting of Scripture. Satan quotes the Old Testament, and dares Jesus to prove its truth by "forcing" God's hand. Jesus deflects the temptation to demand something of God on His own terms. Jesus again quotes Deuteronomy (Matthew 4:5–7).

The final offer made by Satan involves taking Jesus to a dramatic location and showing Him what are probably visions of all the nations of the earth. The Devil promises Jesus worldly power and prosperity if He will worship Satan. This temptation involves turning away from God in exchange for earthly benefits. It also tempts Jesus to impatience: God has already promised Jesus all those things, in His own good time. Jesus again resists temptation, with a quotation from Scripture. It's especially important to note that this is the only place in the Bible where an individual is offered prosperity in exchange for worship—and that offer is entirely Satanic (Matthew 4:8–10).

Having survived these trials, Jesus sends the devil away, and the angels come to minister to Him (Matthew 4:11).

Sometime after this, Jesus learns that John the Baptist has been arrested. Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth in Galilee and then moves to Capernaum, a fishing town on the Sea of Galilee. Matthew connects Jesus life and ministry in this region to a fulfilment of the prophecy found in Isaiah 9:1–2. This region, once thought to be dark and in the shadow of death because of its closeness to the Gentile nations and distance from Jerusalem, receives the dawning of a great light. That light is the Messiah, Jesus (Matthew 4:12–17).

Matthew describes Jesus calling four men to follow Him as His disciples. These two sets of brothers were fisherman working on the Sea of Galilee at Capernaum. Walking there, Jesus first calls Peter and Andrew, who leave their nets and immediately begin to follow Him. Jesus promises to make them fishers of men. Next, Jesus calls brothers James and John, mending nets in a boat with their father Zebedee. They, too, immediately leave behind their careers, family business, and family itself to follow the Christ (Matthew 4:18–22).

Focusing His ministry on the northern region of Galilee, Jesus travels with His disciples from town to town. He teaches in Jewish synagogues and proclaims the good news that the kingdom of heaven is near. He demonstrates the power and glory of the kingdom by healing every kind of disease and affliction. These conditions include everything from basic illness to demon possession to full paralysis. Jesus heals all sorts of people and conditions (Matthew 4:23–24).

Not surprisingly, Jesus quickly becomes famous not just in Galilee, but in every region around it, from Syria in the north to the Decapolis, or "ten cities," in the southeast and on both sides of the Jordan River. Huge crowds from all over begin to follow Jesus from place to place to witness His miracles and to hear His teaching (Matthew 4:25).

Those who have stayed near Jesus have the opportunity to hear the Sermon on the Mount, which Matthew begins to record in chapter 5.
What is the Gospel?
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