What does Matthew 4:1 mean?
ESV: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
NIV: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
NASB: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
CSB: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
NLT: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.
KJV: Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
The previous chapter ended with the Holy Spirit coming to rest on Jesus and the voice of God the Father declaring that Jesus is His Son. That moment of confirmation and acknowledgement by God is immediately followed by a time of testing in Jesus' life.
This testing was not a sign that the Holy Spirit had left Jesus. On the contrary: it is the Spirit, acting after Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist, leading Jesus into the wilderness where He will be tempted. In other words, it was God's intention that Jesus should endure this time of testing.
It's important to remember that God never tempts anyone to sin (James 1:13). God hates sin and does not wish for anyone to engage in it, including His own Son. However, God will lead believers through times of testing, sometimes in order to strengthen their faith (James 1:2). In this case, God's Spirit leads Jesus into the place and time of testing, but the devil is the one who does the tempting. Jesus' faith does not need to be strengthened. But this time of testing will provide evidence that He remains sinless despite being tempted to sin just as all human beings are (Hebrews 4:15).
Because he is called "the devil," the one doing the tempting here will be Satan himself. Satan is the great deceiver and enemy of God who leads the host of fallen angels known as demons. On several occasions in the Old Testament, Satan stood as the accuser of God's people or was used by God to accomplish His own will (1 Chronicles 21:1; Job 1:6–12; 2:1–7; Zechariah 3:1–2).
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 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.
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.
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.
Accessed 11/30/2023 6:34:16 AM
© Copyright 2002-2023 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.