HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
Matthew tells us that Jesus came down to Earth to be born among us and be identified with us. He grew up as any other child would, except that He was harmless and without sin. His baptism, shows how He has been identified with us. Now He is going to be tested, because there are some crucial questions that need answers. Is the King able to withstand a test? Will He overcome?
The word tempt has a double meaning:
#1. to incite or entice to evil; to seduce. There is something deep in each one of us that causes us to yield to the devil’s evil, and some times our free will allows us to give in. This was NOT true of Jesus. "...the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me" (Jn.14:30). He was "...holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners..." (Heb.7:26). Because of this, the temptation for Jesus had to be different from that which would cause you and me to fall. It would have to be a MUCH greater temptation.
#2. to test. The Bible tells us that God does NOT tempt us with evil (Jam.1:13). BUT . . . we are told "...God did tempt Abraham..." (Gen.22:1). So what does it mean? This means that God was testing Abraham’s faith.
Jesus would now be tested. Could Jesus have fallen? In my humble opinion, NO! He could NOT have fallen. IF there was any way that Jesus could have fallen, then you and I would not have a sure Saviour! So . . . was His temptation really legitimate? Was it a valid temptation?" My friend, His temptation was much greater than any that you and I have ever had! And it was absolutely, positively genuine! It had to be, because the Lord had to be tested to demonstrate that He was EXACTLY who He claimed to be.
In Matthew 4:12, Matthew begins his information of the ministry of Jesus, which follows the preaching of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus, that closes with the Father proclaiming Christ as His "beloved Son" in chapter 3. The temptation in chapter 4 proves Jesus’ TRUE Son ship by His victory over the devil's attempt to prevent Him from obeying the Father. The innermost and essential message of Jesus' preaching is the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven and the need for repentance, which is a complete change of heart and conduct, on the part of those who are to receive this tremendous gift of God (Mat.4:17). Galilee is the setting for most of His ministry. He leaves there for Judea only in Matthew 19:1, and His ministry in Jerusalem, the goal of His journey, is limited to just a few days (Mat.21:1- 25:46).
I think that the reason the Lord Jesus was tested was to prove, to show that He could NOT be broken down. His testing, therefore, was MUCH greater than ours. There is a limit to what we can bear. When given enough temptation, pressure builds within, and concludes with our submitting to it. BUT . . . our Lord Jesus NEVER gave in even with all the pressure increasing. This temptation is both a comparison and contrast with the testing of Eve in the Garden of Eden. They both were tempted. Jesus was tested in a wilderness; Eve was tested in a garden. Eve gave in, Jesus did NOT give in! What a contrast!
The Threefold Temptation Of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11)
Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (KJV)
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit . . . Luke says (Lk.4:1), that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. It was by His influence, therefore, that Christ went into the desert. Was led of the Spirit is meant the Holy Spirit of God, which had descended and lighted on Jesus in a bodily shape (Lk.3:22), with the divine gifts and graces of which He was anointed, in an amazing way, for public service; of which He was "full of the Holy Ghost" (Lk.4:1). BUT . . . He was endowed with the Holy Ghost even before this, which He received without measure from His Father (Lk.2:40). Being "led" by Him, means an internal impulse of the Spirit within Him, stirring Him up, and stressing upon Him to go into the wilderness. This impulse was very strong and intense. Mark 1:12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. (KJV) . . . This was NOT against His will; but could have been somewhat like that action of the Spirit on Philip. Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. (KJV)
Into the wilderness . . . see Mat.3:1. When Jesus is said to be led up, it is possible that the the meaning is, He was led up from the low parts of the wilderness, where he was, to the high mountainous parts, which were isolated and uninhabited. The place where Jesus was led was "into the wilderness" of Judea, into the more remote parts of it; because He was before in the wilderness, where John was preaching and baptizing . . . but that part of it was inhabited. There was another part which was desolate, inhabited only by "wild beasts" (Mk.1:13), it was here where Christ was led, and with these wild beasts, he was all alone, away from people, totally destitute of any provisions, so Satan probably thought that he had a big chance of being successful in tempting Christ. He thought that he had all the advantages on his side. The devil was wrong!
To be tempted of the devil . . . "the devil" means "Satan" the prince of devils, the #1 enemy of mankind, the old serpent (Gen.3:1). He was the accuser of God to men, and is the accuser of men to God! His main purpose is to tempt, and Christ was brought here to be tempted by Him, that He might be tested before he entered His public work; that He, as Man, might be in all things like His brethren; and that Satan, whose works He came to destroy, might see an example of His power, and know that one day he would see the ruin of his kingdom by Jesus. Jesus tempted in the wilderness: (Mat.4:1-11; Mk.1:1`2-13; Lk.4:1-13).
Matthew 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. (KJV)
And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights . . . as Moses did, when he was about to deliver the law to the Israelites, and as Elijah did, when he bore his testimony for the Lord of hosts, so too, did Christ, when He was about to publish the Gospel of His grace, and bear witness to the Truth. "Forty nights" as well as days, are mentioned partly to show that these were whole entire days, consisting of twenty four hours; and partly to show that this fast of Christ was NOT like the common fasts of the Jews, who used to eat in the night, although they fasted in the day. According to their customs, they could eat and drink as soon as it was dark, and until the cock crowing, or break of day. What is surprising in this fast of our Lord, which was made and recorded, not for us to imitate, is, that during the whole time He would not be hungry, where if it were us, we would be famished! Forty days and forty nights: (Ex.24:18; 34:28; 1 Ki.19:8; Mat.4:2; Mk.1:13; Lk.4:2).
He was afterwards an hungered . . . Luke 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. (KJV) . . . Not during the fast, but “afterwards, ” He was hungry! Here, our Lord is shown as sharing our physical needs.
Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. (KJV)
And when the tempter came to him . . . "the tempter" is the devil (1 Thes.3:5), thus called, because that is his main work, to entice people to sin, tempting them either to deny God, or make them question that there is a God, accuse His perfections, speak against His divine care and guidance and disbelieve His Promises. When he is here said to come to Christ at the end of forty days and nights, we are not to think that he has just now first began to tempt Him; because the other writers definitely say that He was tempted of him forty days (Mk.1:13; Lk.4:2). It is possible that now he appeared openly, in a visible shape . . . whereas before, he had been tempting Jesus inwardly; suggesting things to take advantage of the solitary and desolate condition He was in, but seeing this was unsuccessful, and observing Him to be hungry after 40 days of no food, he puts on a visible form, and with an clear, audible voice, he says . . .
If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread . . . some commentators say that Satan doubted Jesus’ divine Son ship. I cannot go along with that. Satan knew EXACTLY Who Jesus was! I think this could be worded: "seeing thou art the Son of God" . . . this temptation appealed to His present hunger, the impulse of the moment, as many of our temptations do. The tempter was successful with his temptation about the matter of “eating” with the first Adam (1 Cor.15:45), that he tried the same method with the second Adam. Satan hoped to succeed in this temptation, because Christ was now hungry; and because he had won with our first parents, by tempting them to eat of the forbidden fruit. Devils know Jesus: (Mat.8:29; Mk.1:34; 3:11; Lk.4:34,35,41).
There are many ways the devil will try to get us to turn away from God:
- #1 Seduce by pleasure (1 Tim. 5:11-15)
- #2 Quote Scriptures to lead astray (Mat.4:6).
- #3 Afflict the body (2 Cor. 12:7)
- #4 Tempt by pride (1 Tim. 3:6)
- #5 Pluck away the seed of the Word (Mark 4:15)
- #6 Tempt by impure thoughts ( 1 Cor. 7:5)
- #7 Hinder through circumstances (1 Thes.2:18)
- #8 Severely buffet in a crises (Luke 22:31)
- #9 Tempt to hypocrisy and lying ( Acts 5:3)
- #10 Tries to make us deny Christ’s virgin birth, or His death and resurrection, or His ascension to Heaven, or His power, or His love for us, or His forgiveness of our sins, or His Second Coming.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (KJV)
But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God . . . the passage Christ referred to is: Deut. 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (KJV) . . . The meaning of this Scripture is, not only that as the body lives by bread, so the soul lives by the Word of God, and doctrines of the Gospel . . . but that man lives by obedience to the commands of God, as was promised to the Israelites in the wilderness, and in the land of Canaan.
Shall not live by bread alone. Called out of Egypt as God's Son (Mat.2:15), Jesus could well expect that He might be fed with manna after His forty days' fast. He trusted, He knew, that God could furnish a table in the wilderness (Ps.78:19). We, too, have abundant reason for trusting God. God gave us our lives, and gave His Son to redeem us from sin. He may let us suffer, but we cannot perish IF we trust Him. We should learn to live by His Word knowing He shall take care of His own. We would be SO much better off to die for righteousness than to live by sin. God fed Israel with supernatural bread, to show the people that they lived because of Him, and NOT by what they could furnish for themselves.
But by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God . . . to satisfy our sense of duty is often more pleasant than to appease the pangs of hunger (Jn.4:32-34; Job 23:12; Jer.15:16). Jesus’ trust of His Father was like that of Job (Job 13:15). God COULD sustain our lives without food if He so chooses. We shall live IF it is God’s will, be there physical bread or no bread! (Mat.6:25; Jn.6:47-58; Acts 17:28). Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (KJV)
Matthew 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, (KJV)
Then the devil taketh him up . . . this does not mean that Satan carried Him through the air, or that he forced Him to go against His will, or that he worked a miracle, in any way, to place him there. There is absolutely NO evidence that Satan had power to do any of these things. The word translated taketh him up does not imply any such thing, but means to lead one; to attend or accompany one; or to persuade one to go. It is used in the following Scriptures in the same sense: #1. Num.23:14 . . . "And he (Balak) brought him (Balaam) into the field of Zophim," that is, he led him, or convinced him to go there. #2. Mat.17:1 . . ."And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James," etc.; He led, or led them, not by any means He bore them by force. #3. Mat.20:17 . . ."Jesus, going to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart," etc. #4. Also see: . . . Mat.26:37; 27:27; Mk.5:40. From these Passages, and others, it seems that all that is meant here is, that Satan conducted Jesus, or accompanied him; but NOT that this was done against the will of Jesus. NO one, especially the devil, could ever FORCE Jesus to do anything against His will!
Into the holy city. . . Jerusalem was called holy because the temple was there, and it was the place of religious solemnities, where formal or ceremonious worship services were held. Holy city: (Neh.11:1; Mat.27:53)
Setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple . . . or "wing of the temple". Some say that this is where the Jews set James, the brother of Christ, and from it cast him down. The Bible says: Acts 12:1-2 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. (KJV)
The reason Satan had in setting Jesus here appears in the next verse.
Matthew 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (KJV)
And saith unto him, if thou be the Son of God . . . Satan addresses Jesus the same way as before . . . IF . . . or seeing that You are the Son of God, prove it! Prove Your Son ship in front of all the priests which are in the temple, and before all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Cast thyself down . . . jump down from the summit of the temple, for since You are the Son of God, no hurt will come to You. You will be completely safe. We must consider, Satan did not offer to cast Jesus down himself, for that was not in his power, nor did he have permission to do so. He only had permission to tempt Jesus. And IF Satan had cast Jesus down, that would have been his sin, not Jesus’ sin. So we may understand that when the devil seeks the destruction or lives of men, he does not try to destroy them himself, but always tempts them into doing it.
For it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee . . . this is a quote from Psalm 91:11. Satan not only argues from his divine power, as the Son of God, that he and In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone . . . this is a quote from Psalm 91:12. BEWARE!!! That old devil knows what the Scriptures say! And my dear friend, so do many of the devil’s children! (1 Jn.3:10; Eph.2:2). They twist the Truth to say whatever the devil wants it to say. The Passage cited in Psalm 91:1-2 expresses God's tender care and concern for His people, in charging the angels with the guardianship and preservation of them, in all their ways, that they might be secured from sin and danger. Satan was not wrong in the application of this Passage to Jesus, because it respects all the righteous in general . . . so, why not Christ as Man? The angels did have charge of him, did watch over Him, and were a guard around Him. The angels of God ascended and descended on Him (Gen.28:12; Jn.1:51). Their job was to preserve Him from Herod's malice in His infancy; they ministered to Him here in the wilderness, and attended Him in His agony in the garden. Satan’s sin was that he willfully and wickedly omitted that part of it. BEWARE!!! Those who truly rest on God's Promises, stand on a sure foundation (Mat.7:24-25; Lk.6:48), but those who stand on an unsure foundation (Mat.7:26-27; Lk.6:49), shall fall when the floods and the wind come, the ruin of that house shall be great.
Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (KJV)
Jesus saith unto him, It is written again . . . Jesus seems to take no notice of the false and wrong reference of Scripture made by the devil, nor of his misapplication of it; but calmly replies, by bringing another Passage of Scripture to him: Deut. 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, . . . . . . . (KJV)
Thou shall not tempt the Lord your God . . . the Lord did not need to say more, for this alone showed that Satan had twisted scripture for a very deceitful and wrong purpose. It is not proper that this should be done by any one, just as it was not right for any one to tempt God the Father, by taking such a step as Satan did, to tempt the Lord Jesus.
Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; (KJV)
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain . . . Satan is not done yet! He kept on “keeping on” with his tempting the Lord Jesus . . . just as he does with us today. He took Jesus from the pinnacle of the temple, and carried him through the air, to a very high mountain.
And sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and glory of them . . . some think this means just the Roman empire, even though it was the greatest in the world at that time. I think this means ALL the kingdoms in the entire world, and "the glory of them" and means the grandeur, riches, splendor and power of them. He took Christ to this mountain; where he could look all around Him, from where He could see "all the earth, and all the sea" . . . which I think was all in imagination. Satan must have thought to coerce Christ this way, but he failed! Luke 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. (KJV) . . . He showed Jesus all their resources as well as their magnificence. Their cities, lands, the people, their armies, treasures, and temples, etc. Many parents in encouraging their children to seek earthly glory and distinction automatically help Satan in urging this temptation.
Matthew 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (KJV)
And saith unto him, all these things will I give thee . . . I think Luke says it better. Luke 4:6-7 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. (KJV)
If thou wilt fall down and worship me . . . this was the highest degree of contempt and disrespect. The devil is not content just to be worshipped by men, but desperately desires to be adored by the Son of God. This reveals his ambitious, aspiring and egotistical views to be as God himself (Isa.14:12-14); for with nothing less will he be satisfied . . . BUT: Isaiah 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (KJV) . . . And the SAME shall be for his children who trample on God’s children! Isaiah 5:14-15 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. 15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: (KJV) . . . There shall be justice in the day of judgment, NOT like today!
Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (KJV)
Then saith Jesus to him, Get thee hence, Satan . . . Luke 4:8 state the exact words. This expresses indignation and abhorrence (Mat.16:23), rebuking the devil’s impudence, and detesting his wickedness. The Lord Jesus had borne his insults and temptations with much patience, answering him with calmly and gently, but now Satan’s behavior to Jesus was intolerable, which compelled Him to show His resentment, exert His power and authority, and rid Himself of this vile creature; giving this reason for it . . .
Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him . . . . the Lord refers to: Deut. 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, . . . . . . . . . . . (KJV) . . . To fear the Lord is to respect and worship Him. Worship embraces both an internal and external reverence of God. The word "only" is not in the original text, but is added by our Lord, and rightly so. Deut. 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. (KJV)
Matthew 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (KJV)
Then the devil leaveth him . . . in Luke 4:13, it says, “when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season”. Having tempted Jesus with all kinds of temptations, not just the three listed, but all kinds, trying Him in every way possible, for 40 days and 40 nights, finished the whole course of temptations he had invented, without any success whatsoever! He now had orders from Jesus to depart . . . get away . . . he was obliged to obey, leaves him for a while, until another opportunity of tempting Him in some other way should come up (Jn.14:30; Lk.22:53).
Behold, angels came and ministered to him . . . I think that they came to Him in a visible, human form, as they did in the Old Testament, after the temptation was over, after Satan was hindered, and had gone away. I do not think that the angels helped or assisted Jesus in any way during the temptation, I believe that Christ Jesus alone had the victory over Satan. When the angels came, they "ministered to him," possibly bringing Him food of their own preparing, as they did fof Elijah (1Ki.19:5-8), to satisfy His hunger, and refresh His spirits; which had undergone a very great exhaustion during the length of time which He fasted, and was tempted by Satan. Thus, as the angels are ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation, both in a temporal and in a spiritual sense (Heb.1:14), so they were to Jesus.
Jesus Begins His Public Ministry At Capernaum (Matthew 4:12-17)
Matthew 4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; (KJV)
Now, when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison . . . John the Baptist was cast into prison by Herod, because of John’s boldness for speaking the Truth (Mat.14:3-4). This is not so today. It is extremely rare that a pastor would dare open his mouth as John did, because in today’s time, even many “professing” Christians, think that times have changed, and fornication and adultery are accepted as normal.
This prison, according to Josephus, was the castle of Machaeras, and it was here where he continued some time before he was put to death, and from there that he sent two disciples to Jesus, to ask if He were the Messiah (Mat.11:2). Now when Jesus heard of this his imprisonment,
He departed into Galilee . . . (Jn.4:3). Jesus probably went into Galilee to avoid danger. It was less dangerous for Him to begin His ministry there rather than near Jerusalem. Judea was under the dominion of the scribes, and Pharisees and priests. They would be envious of any one who would set up as a public teacher, and who would attract much attention there. Because of this, it was important that the work of Jesus should begin in Galilee, and become somewhat established and known before He went to Jerusalem.
not so much on account of safety, or for fear of Herod, but to call his disciples, who lived
Matthew 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: (KJV)
And leaving Nazareth . . . It seems that, from this time, our precious Lord made Capernaum His place of residence; and utterly forsook Nazareth, because they had totally rejected His Word, and even attempted to take His life (Lk.4:29).
He came and dwelt in Capernaum . . . a city of Galilee (Lk.4:31). Capernaum was a Galilean city often mentioned in the history of our Lord. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament. After our Lord's ejection from Nazareth (Mat.4:13-16; Lk.4:16-31), Capernaum became His "own city" (Mat.9:1). It was the place where many works and events of His life occurred (Mat.8:5,14-15; 9:2-6,10-17; 15:1-20; Mk.1:32-34). The impenitence and unbelief of its inhabitants after the many proofs our Lord gave among them of the Truth of His mission, brought down upon them a heavy denunciation of judgment (Mat.11:23).
Which is upon the sea-coast . . . by the sea of Tiberias, or Genesareth.
In the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim . . . Capernaum bordered on both these tribes.
Galilee was bound by mount Lebanon on the north, the river Jordan and the sea of Galilee on the east, Chison on the south and by the Mediterranean on the west.
Nazareth, a little city in the tribe of Zebulon, in lower Galilee, with Tabor on the east, and Ptolemais on the west. It is supposed that this city was the usual residence of our Lord for the first thirty years of his life. It was here He became incarnate, lived in subjection to Joseph and Mary, and from which He took the Name of “Nazarene” (Mat.2:23). Capernaum, was a city famous in the New Testament, but never mentioned in the Old. It may have been one of those cities which the Jews built after their return from Babylon. It stood on the sea-coast of Galilee, on the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim, as stated in the text. This was called His own city (Mat.9:1), and here, as a citizen, He paid tribute money (Mat.17:24). Among the Jews, if a man resided in any city for twelve months, he became a citizen, and paid his part of dues and taxes.
Matthew 4:14-15 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; (KJV)
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken . . . Jesus dwelling in Capernaum fulfilled a prophecy of the prophet (Isa.9:1-2). This region was the first to suffer in the beginning of those wars which finally resulted in the captivity of the ten tribes. The people of this district were smitten by Benhadad (1 Ki.15:20), and later by Tiglathpileser (2 Ki.15:29; 1 Chron.5:26), some time before the general captivity of the ten tribes (2 Ki.17:6). Zabulon, the country of this tribe, in which Nazareth and Capernaum were situated, bordered on the lake of Gennesareth, stretching to the frontiers of Sidon (Gen.49:13). Nephthalim was adjacent to it, and both were on the east side of Jordan (Josh.19:34). Galilee of the Gentiles . . . was so called because it was, according some, was inhabited by Egyptians, Arabians and Phoenicians, as well as the Jews.
Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (KJV)
The people which sat in darkness saw great light . . . the inhabitants of Galilee, who sat or "walked" in continual spiritual darkness, in ignorance, blindness, unfaithfulness and error . . . "saw great light", meaning Christ Jesus Himself, who came a Light into the world (Jn.1:4-5). He spoke with them, preached to them, and opened the eyes of their understandings to behold His glory, and to know Him, and salvation by Him. The true happiness of these people was, that to them "light is sprung up" like the rising sun. Christ, the sun of righteousness, arose upon them, without any desire or expectation of theirs, with healing in His wings; and cured them of their darkness and deadness, turned them from darkness to light, and caused them to pass from death to life. "Light" is not only a character under which Christ frequently goes in the New Testament (Jn.1:4,9,14; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46; 2 Cor.4:6; Eph.5:14; 1 Jn.1:5), but is mentioned of the Messiah in the Old Testament (Ps.18:28; 27:1; 43:3; Isa. 60:1-3; Dan.2:20-22; Mic.7:7-8; Mal.4:2).
And to them which sat in the region and shadow of death . . . the same people who sit in darkness, also sit in the state of death, because these are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1). For where there is no spiritual light, there is no spiritual life, and these are in great danger of the second death (Rev.2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8).
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV)
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say . . . it seems that Jesus did preach and teach in Nazareth, but this He did privately. Now, that He was come to Capernaum, after His baptism, after His temptation, after He had heard that John the Baptist was in prison, He began to preach and teach publicly. The summation of Jesus’ doctrine was the exact same as that of John the Baptist, confirming his doctrine, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mat.3:2; Mk.1:15). The “Kingdom” was indeed at hand in the Person of the King! There cannot be a Kingdom of Heaven without a King . . . and He was/is the King! The Kingdom of Heaven stated simply, is the reign of Heaven over the Earth. We do NOT have this today, only in the hearts of TRUE Christians. This Kingdom is what our Lord Jesus will someday bring to this Earth. I am ready, I don’t know about you. This Earth will become "Heaven" for Israel, an earthly people, and they will go into eternity right down here. The church has a heavenly hope (Rev.21), but Israel’s hope is also a marvelous hope, and it is the hope of the Old Testament. From what I can gather from the Bible, only the “church” will be the “bride of Christ” (Jn.3:29; Rev.21:9,17). The church consists of both Gentiles and Jews (all those Jews who are wise enough to believe and accept the Messiah, Christ Jesus) now. ALL those stubborn and unrepentant Jews shall go through the Great Tribulation, as well as ALL the stubborn and unrepentant Gentiles, should they still be alive at that time. Great Tribulation: (Isa.5:30; 13:9-11; 24:21,23; 26:21; Jer.30:7; Eze.32:7-8; Dan.7:24-25; 12:1; Joel 2:10,31;3:15; Amos 8:9-10; Zep.1:15-16).I believe that the Great Tribulation is God's judgment on the Jews, His people, because all these Scriptures are speaking to Jews, but it will be for EVERYONE who is alive and remain after the Lord Jesus comes and removes the church at the Rapture (1 Thes.4:13-18). You do NOT have to go through the Great Tribulation period!
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (KJV)
1 Thes. 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (KJV) . . . Only Jesus can keep you from the Great Tribulation.
Jesus Begins To Call His Disciples (Matthew 4:18-25)
Matthew 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. (KJV)
And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee . . . (Mk.1:16). This was not by accident, but to look for and call some, whom He had chosen to be His apostles. Sea of Galilee . . . also called the sea of Tiberias (Jn.6:1), the lake of Gennesareth (Lk.5:1), and also the sea of Chinnereth (Num.34:11; Deut.3:17; Josh.12:3). It is about fifteen miles long, and from six to nine miles wide. There is no part of Palestine which can be compared in beauty with the surroundings of this lake. Many heavily populated cities once stood on its shores, such as Tiberias, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Chorazin, Hippo, etc. The shores are described by Josephus as a perfect paradise, producing every luxury under heaven, at all seasons of the year. It is said that the river Jordan flows directly through the lake without mingling with its waters, so that the course of the Jordan can be distinctly seen. The waters of the lake are sweet and pleasant to the taste, and clear. The lake still abounds with fish, and gives employment, as it did in the time of our Saviour, to those who live on its shores. It is, however, quite stormy, probably because of the high hills surrounding it.
Saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother . . . these are described by their relation to each other, "brethren"; not just because they were of the same nation, or of the same religion, or because they both were fishermen, but because they were of the same blood; and by their names, "Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother".
Casting a net into the sea . . . Luke says they were washing their nets (Lk.5:2).
For they were fishers . . . the very first persons Christ was delighted to call to the work of the ministry, were men of no education, who were not high-ups or well known public figures, but were common, down to earth hard working fishermen. WHY did Jesus do this? I think that He did it to show that they were not qualified for such service because of their abilities, and that all their gifts and qualifications were from Him; to show His own power; to destroy the wisdom of the wise (1 Cor.1:19-20; 3:19); and to let people see, that NO one should glory in themselves, but in Him.
Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (KJV)
And he saith unto them, Follow me . . . (Mk.1:17). It seems possible that these two brothers had been the disciples of John (Jn.1:35-40). These men already knew Jesus. He had talked to Peter and Andrew previously (Jn.1:35-42), when He had been preaching in the area. When Jesus called them, they knew what kind of man He was and were willing to follow Him.
And I will make you fishers of men . . . fishers of men: preachers of the Gospel, whose business it shall be to win souls to Christ. Fishers of men: (Mat.4:19; Mk.1:17; Lk.5:10; 1 Cor.9:20-22).
Matthew 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. (KJV)
And they straightway left their nets . . . straightway means right now, as soon Jesus called them, they left their worldly job, and followed Him. They gave themselves to His service, and became His apostles. They not only left their "nets", but their fishing boats, their livelihood and all that belonged to it, and also their relations, friends and acquaintances (Mat19:27), revealing what a mighty power went along with the words and call of Christ; and what a cheerful and voluntary subjection this produced, wherever it takes place.
Straightway: (1 Sam.9:13; 28:20; Pro.7:22; Dan.10:17; Mat.3:16; 4:20; 14:22,27; 21:2-3; 25:15; 27:48; Mk.1:10,18,20,21; 2:2; 3:6; 5:29,42; 6:24,45,54; 7:35; 8:10; 9:15,20,24; 11:3; 14:45; 15:1; Lk.5:39; 8:55; 12:54; 14:5; Jn.13:32; Acts 9:20; 16:33; 22:29; 23:30; Jam.1:24)
Matthew 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. (KJV)
And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren . . . when Jesus went a little way further, He saw two others that He was looking for, having planned to call them to be apostles, and these two are also described as "brethren" (brothers). (Mk.1:19-20).
James, the son of Zebedee, and John his brother . . . James and John: (Mat.17:1; Mk.1:19-20,29; 3:17; 5:37; 9:2; 10:35,41; 13:3; 14:33; Lk.5:10; 6:14; 8:51; 9:28,54)
In a ship with Zebedee their father . . . men with these names were very common among the Jews, but neither Zebedee or his sons, were masters or doctors in Israel. Our Lord Jesus did NOT choose learned men for His apostles. It is possible that Zebedee could be the same as Zebadiah (1 Chron.27:7).
Mending their nets; and he called them . . . James and John were "mending their nets" which were probably broken, and needed repairing. I would say that they were poor and could not afford to buy new ones. This shows their hard work and diligence, and seems to be a pattern and example of persons called by the Lord Jesus. And he called them . . . from their job as fishermen, to follow Him, and become His apostles. He most likely gave them the same promise and encouragement he had given the first two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Matthew 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. (KJV)
And they immediately left the ship . . . immediately (straightway Mk.1:20). More is said here than before, for these not only left their nets, but their ship as well, which was of much more value.
And their father . . . James and John also left "their father" also, "with the hired servants" (Mk.1:20). They obeyed with the call of Christ, and thereby proved, that they were sincerely His followers (Ps.45:10; Lk.14:26; Mat.19:29). All who submit to the call of Christ, can expect the gracious Promise of Christ to be made good unto them. Matthew 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (KJV) . . . Everlasting life . . . the greatest Gift in this world and in the world to come!
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (KJV)
And Jesus went about all Galilee . . . having now called four of His apostles, Jesus took a trip all through Galilee. This was a mean and sinful country, inhabited by poor people, illiterate, vile and immoral. This was what it was like at the beginning of Christ's ministry. He spoke messages of His grace, which revealed the freedom, sovereignty, and riches of His abounding goodness. He went in “all” Galilee, which was very heavily populated. He went about "doing good" (Acts 10:38), to both the bodies and souls of men.
Teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom . . . Jesus taught openly, in "their synagogues". He did not sneak into private houses, as the Pharisees did then, and the false apostles did afterwards. He came openly, and stated His doctrine in places of public worship; where the Jews met together to pray, read the Scriptures and give encouragement to the people. The Jews had just one temple, which was located at Jerusalem, but they had many synagogues, or meeting places, all over the land. It was here Christ not only prayed and read the Scriptures, but "preached", and the subject matter of His ministry was, "the Gospel of the kingdom" . . . the good news that the Kingdom of the Messiah had come. He warned them to repent (Mat.3:2; Mk.1:15). The synagogues were built in elevated places, in any place where ten men were found who were willing to join together for the purpose of worship. These were the customary places of worship. In them the law, (the Old Testament), was divided into suitable portions, was read, prayers were offered, and the Scriptures were expounded. The law was so divided, that the five books of Moses, and portions of the prophets, could be read through each year. The Scriptures, after being read, were expounded. This was done, either by the officers of the synagogues, or by any person who might be invited to it by the officiating minister. Our Lord Jesus and the apostles attended those places constantly, and spoke to the people (Lk.4:15-27; Acts 13:14-15).
The synagogues were built in imitation of the temple, with a center building, supported by pillars, and a court surrounding it (Mat.21:12). The center building, or chapel, was a place prepared for the reading of the law. The law was kept in a chest, or ark, near the pulpit. The uppermost seats (Mat.23:6), were those closest to the pulpit. The people sat facing the pulpit. When the law was read, the officiating person rose; when it was expounded, he was seated. Our Saviour imitated their example, and was commonly seated when addressing the people (Mat.5:1; 13:1).
Healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people . . . besides (Mat.3:5), in which the word "all" or "every", is to be taken in a limited and restrained sense, for "some" or "some of all sorts" . . . which teaches us how to understand those phrases, when used in the doctrine of redemption by Christ. Jesus went all over Galilee, healing people who had all kinds of disease and sickness. He did nothing but good!
Matthew 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. (KJV)
And his fame went throughout all Syria . . . meaning His ministry and miracles, especially His miracles. Syria was considered by some as the land of Israel, though others disagreed.
And they brought to him all sick people, that were taken with divers diseases . . . those who were ill, or were afflicted with any kind of health problem.
And torments . . . such as colic, gouts and rheumatisms, which tortured every joint.
And those which were possessed with devils . . . in body as well as in mind; of which there were many instances, allowed by God so that Christ might have an opportunity of revealing His power over those evil spirits (devils). It is my humble opinion that no TRUE Christian believer can be demon possessed. TRUE Christians have the Holy Spirit abiding within them (Rom.8:9-11; 1 Cor.3:16; 6:19). The Holy Spirit IS God, and the devil cannot abide in the Presence of Almighty God. God would not permit a demon to possess the same person He is indwelling. God simply would not allow one of His children, purchased with the precious Blood of Christ (1 Pet.1:18-19), thus being made into a new creation (2 Cor.5:17), to be possessed and controlled by a demon. As far as spiritual warfare, YES, as believers, we wage war with Satan and his demons on a daily basis (Eph.6:10-18), but not from our own power, but the power of the Holy Spirit. 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (KJV) . . .WHO is the One in us? The Holy Spirit! Who is the one in the world? Satan and his demons. The believer has overcome the world of demons, and I see no way there can be demon possession of a TRUE believer. Overcoming: (Jn.16:33; 1 Jn.2:13-14; 4:4-5; Rev.2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21; 21:7)
And those which were lunatic . . . either sad, depressed people, or those who are mad and troubled, mentally ill, insane, that have gone off into fields or desert places, or those whose disorders were influenced by the change of the moon. Also persons afflicted with epileptic or other disorders, which are always known to have an increase at the change of the moon. And is this any wonder, when it is well known, that a very slight alteration in the atmosphere causes the most uncomfortable sensations to a number of invalids! But sometimes even these diseases were caused by demons (Mat.8:16,34; 17:15).
And those that had the palsy . . . palsy is defined as a sudden loss of tone and vital power in a certain part of the human body. This may affect a limb, the whole side, the tongue, or the whole body. This disorder is in general incurable, except by the miraculous power of God, unless in its slighter stages. Many of these disorders were incurable by medicine; or for which rarely, and with great difficulty, any manner of relief could be obtained.
And he healed them . . . without any means, but by speaking a word; which showed Jesus to be more than a man, and truly and properly God. The diseases here listed are still among the most difficult for physicians to cure.
Jesus IS God! http://www.hisservants.org/is_jesus_god_h_s.htm
Matthew 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. (KJV)
And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee . . .some for one reason, some for another; some out of good will, some out of ill will; some for the healing of their bodies, others for the good of their souls; some came just to see His miracles, others wanted to hear His doctrine. The gathering of people that followed Jesus was greater than that which followed John the Baptist (Lk.3:7). The places from where they came are specifically mentioned. "Fom Galilee" . . . where Jesus had called His disciples, had been preaching the Gospel, and healing all manner of diseases; and therefore it is not to be wondered at that he should have a large number of followers from there. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6475-galilee
And from Decapolis . . . a tract of land so called, because of the "ten cities" that were in it (Mk.5:20; 7:31). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5035-decapolis-the
And from Jerusalem . . . the metropolitan area of the whole land. His fame had reached that great city, and there were some there that were curious and wanted to see and hear Him. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8604-jerusalem
And from Judea . . . after the Captivity this name was applied to the whole of the country west of the Jordan (Hag.1:1; 2:2). But under the Romans, in the time of Christ, it meant the southernmost of the three divisions of Palestine (Mat.2:1,5; 3:1; 4:25), but it was also at times used for Palestine in general (Acts28:21). The province of Judea, distinguished from Galilee and Samaria, included the territories of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, and part of Ephraim. Under the Romans it was a part of the province of Syria, and was governed by a procurator.
And from beyond Jordan . . . the land beyond Jordan was called Perea, which means "beyond". The Jordan River was the division of the land of Israel. The country beyond Jordan was not honored as was the land of Canaan, or Israel. The land of Israel is holier than all lands to the Jews, but the land beyond Jordan, was not considered to be the land flowing with milk and honey. Land flowing with milk and honey: (Ex.3:8; 13:5; 33:3; Lev.20:24; Num.13:27; 14:8; 16:13-14; Deut.6:3; 11:9; 26:9,15; 27:3; 31:20; Josh.5:6; Jer.11:5; 32:22; Eze.20:6,15).
How can we understand God’s will for our life?
#1. How do we do God’s will through the day? Stay close to God’s Holy Word, study it each and every day. Only when we know what it says can we apply it to our lives. God dearly loves us, and desires that we study the text, reflect what it means and consider how it applies to our life.
#2. Solomon finally figured this out at the end of his life. Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (KJV) . . . Fear God, reverence Him, respect Him and obey Him!
Our salvation does NOT depend upon how well we keep the “10 commandments” or any other commandments anywhere in the Bible. God’s rules are made for our happiness and peace. Because God loves us far beyond what we can comprehend, He wants us to live a full, rich and abundant life. God wants to bless us. . . BUT . . . for God to bless us, we must do what He wants us to do. Being a child of God, a “Christian” is not simply saying “I believe in Christ” . . . it goes far beyond that! IF we truly love God, and believe Him (1 Jn.5:10-13), and truly believe that Jesus died for our sins, and accept Him into our hearts and lives, our “belief” will lead us to take action based on that belief. We must believe that Jesus is God!
#3. We all have heard the age-old saying, “you are what you eat”. It happens to be true. Our bodies grow physically grow based on what we eat. This also applies to us spiritually. IF we “eat” the Bread of Life (Jn.6:33,35,48,50,51), we grow spiritually! IF we drink the Water of Life, we shall never thirst (Jn.4:4; Rev.21:6; 22:1,17). Unless we study God’s Word, we CANNOT grow spiritually!
#4. The world’s food will only nourish us for a short time, but God’s Word will nourish us eternally. Read it, study it, learn it and obey it, and grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God is Food for the soul. Let us remember that the finest words ever written were payed for by the precious Blood of the Lamb of God (1 Pet.1:18-19), and IF anyone refuses to obey it, they shall pay the eternal penalty of disobedience (Mat.25:41,46; Mk.9:43-48; Rev.20:15).
#5. I truly do believe that God has a plan for our lives. There is NO way we can know what He expects from us if we do not study His Word. Our daily marching orders come from our obedience to what God teaches us from the Bible. We pray “Thy will be done.”
HOW can we know WHAT His will is, if we are not daily in His Word? We need the Lord’s supernatural intervention for us to have the power and ability to do God’s will.
Gospel of Matthew
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