Thursday, April 17, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 4

Yesterday we saw the beginning of Jesus' public ministry with his baptism by John the Baptist. Today we see that ministry begin in earnest through chapter four of Matthew. There is a lot going on in this chapter. We have four different subheadings over the course of just 22 verses. Each sub-heading is critically important as well, as they each carry out an important part of Jesus' ministry. We see temptation, preaching, calling of disciples, and healing over the course of this chapter.

Perhaps the most important point illustrated here is that of temptation. Yes, Jesus was divine, but He was still also fully human. Because He was human, he had to face temptation like the rest of us. Because of His divinity, however, He had to face the greatest temptation. Satan knew what Jesus' mission was. Satan also knew that if He could get Jesus to fall, he would counter God's plan for humanity. What he presented to Jesus were some of the strongest temptations known. When told to turn stones into bread He tempted Jesus to rely on Himself and not God. When asked to jump from the temple he tested Jesus to put God Himself to the test, as if God wouldn't come through. Finally, he temepted Jesus with power. In that, however, Jesus knew He would already be promised the nations. In essence, He won by resisting this power.

8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

 10Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" – Matthew 4:8-10

How would you react if someone were to give you the kingdoms of the world? Power is a great tempter. Still, as mentioned above, Jesus knew that He would already be given the kingdoms of the world by His Father. By giving in to Satan, he would have not only showed a lake of patience, He would have betrayed His Father. One of the greatest character traits that Jesus has is His patience. He shows this infinitely when He deals with each and every human being on the planet. Jesus had to face this temptation because of His humanity, but in conquering them it made Him stronger. We also become stronger when we face and conquer temptation, especially when the strength to conquer that temptation comes from God.

18As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 20At once they left their nets and followed him. – Matthew 4:18-20

Not everyone has this dramatic calling when they choose to follow Jesus. It seems that for every person that reacts to Jesus' first call in their lives there are dozens that have to hear the message time and time again before they get it. Peter and Andrew may have known of Jesus' power and stature before this, but it is important to remember that they were not scholars or religious leaders. They were ordinary men. They had nothing special about them, but when called, Jesus knew they would accomplish great things for the Kingdom. This is what Jesus wants to do in every single person's life. We all face a similar calling in our lives. This is also where Jesus' patience comes into play because He continues to knock until we answer Him.


  1. Why did Jesus have to face this temptation?
  2. What can we learn from Jesus having to face temptation?
  3. How do you hear the calling to be fishers' of men?

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