Matthew 4 is connected to the events in the preceding chapter where we ended with Jesus being baptized and a voice from heaven declaring "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
Immediately after this the Spirit of God leads Jesus to a desert in order to be tempted. I was reflecting on this earlier and thought there was a lesson here. Sometimes it's after a crowning moment, a glorious time where we are praised or honored that we are sorely tempted. So beware of this. Never think you have "arrived" and are above the tempter's tactics. The Bible warns us against pride and says when we think we stand, beware ... that whole pride-goes-before-a-fall thing, I guess.
So here is Jesus being honored after his baptism, and immediately being lead into a desert where he fasts for 40 days and nights, is hungry and then tempted. And what does Satan appeal to first? His need for food! "Make these stones into bread," Satan challenges, "Come on, Jesus. Prove that you are the son of God. This won't be too hard for you and you can satisfy your need." How many of us yield to temptation because of our "needs"? Maybe that's not such a struggle, but I think it would be after forty days and nights of not eating! By the way, would it have been wrong for Jesus to make stones into bread? Why is this considered a temptation?
vs. 4 which refers to Deuteronomy 8:3 -- quoted by Jesus
vs. 6 -- Psalm 91:11,12 -- quoted by Satan
vs. 7 -- Deuteronomy 6:16 -- quoted by Jesus
vs. 10 -- Deuteronomy 6:13 -- quoted by Jesus
Did you see that Satan used OT verses as a challenge for Jesus to prove himself?
5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
" 'He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
He appealed to Jesus' pride (basically "prove yourself to be whom you really claim to be" or maybe "prove to be what that 'voice from heaven' said you were at that baptism forty days ago") and God's faithfulness in keeping His promises. Another one of those "has God said?" scenarios like he used with Eve perhaps. Maybe there is a lesson for us about distorting messages and using verses out of context in order to justify many things including war, our pride, unkindness and even God's "side." ("God is on my side, not yours. Here's why...[insert verses used to justify this selfish outlook].")
Verse 8 leads me to ask if Satan owns all the kingdoms of this earth. Do you have an opinion on this? I can tell you what my pastor has said, but I wonder if anyone else has an answer.
It's interesting that Jesus allowed himself to be lead by Satan during this testing period. Do you think Jesus wanted us to know that he, too, experienced temptation and defeated it by knowing the Word of God? Perhaps this is why the author of Hebrews could write: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." You can't help but see how Jesus refuted Satan three times by quoting from Deuteronomy. Psalm 119:11 tells us, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." And Jesus showed us how we can do this.
There is more in this chapter, but I decided to break it up into two posts as to not make this one any longer. Do you have thoughts or questions about this chapter or anything discussed? Please share them.