What does Matthew 4 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Matthew 4:1–11 describes Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. After 40 days and nights of fasting, Jesus faces three temptations from Satan. Each one attempts to lure Christ into abusing His power; to take immediately what God the Father has promised to provide later. Jesus resists each temptation with a quote from Deuteronomy, refusing to rebel against the plans of God the Father. Finally, Jesus refuses to worship the devil in exchange for the kingdoms of the earth. He tells the devil to leave, and angels come minister to Him.
Matthew 4:12–17 shows Jesus' travel and ministry in Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee. This fulfills another ancient prophecy about the Messiah, found in Isaiah 9:1–2. Scriptures promised a great light would dawn in the region once occupied by the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, near the Sea of Galilee. Once thought of as ''dark'' because of its nearness to the Gentile nations and distance from Jerusalem, Galilee is the region in which the light of the Messiah will first shine brightly.
Matthew 4:18–22 describes Jesus' calling of two sets of brothers to follow Him as His disciples. Both pairs are working as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee as Jesus is walking by. He commands them to follow Him. Both Andrew and Peter, and James and John, immediately do so, leaving behind careers and family.
Matthew 4:23–25 describes Jesus' ministry all around the region of Galilee. He and disciples travel from place to place. Jesus teaches in the synagogues and proclaims the good news to all that the kingdom of heaven is near. He also displays the power of the kingdom by healing people with every kind of affliction, including diseases, demon possession, and paralysis. Jesus quickly becomes famous, drawing huge crowds of followers from every direction.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 3 ended with the Holy Spirit coming to rest on Jesus following His baptism. Now the Spirit leads Him into the wilderness to endure tempting by the devil after 40 days of fasting. Jesus demonstrates His sinlessness by resisting all temptations. He begins His ministry in the region of Galilee, settling in Capernaum and calling some disciples to follow Him. Jesus' work in Galilee includes traveling from place to place, proclaiming the good news that the kingdom of heaven is near and healing every kind of affliction. He soon becomes famous, drawing huge crowds from great distances.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 3 ends with a great affirmation from the voice of God the Father: Jesus is His Son. Immediately after that, God's Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness for a time of temptation by the devil. Jesus passes that test and then begins His ministry in the region of Galilee. Jesus begins to call His disciples and travel around the region. He teaches in the synagogues and heals people with every kind of affliction. Jesus' fame grows quickly. This provides Him a large audience for the Sermon on the Mount, which Matthew begins to record in chapter 5.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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