Reading Matthew 4

Jesus is Tempted

  • It seems that Jesus was tempted by the devil more than three times. Rather, it seems the devil was tempting Him throughout his stay in the desert but the only recorded temptations are the three at the end of the forty days. (Matt 4:1-3, Mark 1:12, 13, Luke 4: 1-3)
  • Matthew and Luke have the position of the last two temptations reversed but I do not think that matters since Luke does not claim that the temptations occurred in that order. Matthew, however, seems to.
  • In Matthew, Jesus is asked to change ‘stones’ into ‘loaves of bread’ while in Luke Jesus is asked to change ‘a stone’ (singular) into a loaf of bread. I wonder if this difference is important.
  • Jesus responds to Satan’s temptations with scripture. We should know scripture for this reason. So we can use it. It is, as Paul said, the sword of the spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
  • When asked to throw himself off the highest point of the temple, Jesus responds by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16 (“You must not put the Lord your God to the test [as you did at Massah]”). What happened at Massah was that the people complained (again) about their lack of food and water, wanted to return to Egypt, etc. etc. it had nothing to do with asking God for confirmation of anything but maybe of acting in way contrary to what God expects of you.
  • God sent angels to attend to Jesus after all this was done – a good thing because he must have been starving.

Jesus Begins to Preach

  • Matthew ties Jesus’ leaving Nazareth to his learning of the imprisonment of John the Baptist although I doubt this was the cause of Jesus’ migration since Luke records that he was basically driven out of Nazareth by people who wanted to kill him by throwing him off a cliff (Matthew 4:12, 13 Luke 4:14-31). Apparently, mobs were just as dangerous in Jesus’ time as they are today.
  • Jesus taught pretty much the same thing that John had – “Repent, for the kingdom of God is near” (Matt 4:17).

Calling the First Disciples

  • Matthew’s account of the calling of the first disciples is rather strange because it gives us the picture of a strange man telling two fishermen “follow me and I will make you fishers of men” and they immediately follow this strange guy. Luke however, being the sweetheart that he is, gives us the story in more detail. Thanks, Luke (Matthew 4: 18-20, Luke 5:1-11).
  • James and John, the sons of Zebedee were Simon’s partners (Luke 5:10) and they were invited to join Jesus.
  • John’s gospel says that Andrew, Peter’s brother was a follower of John the Baptist before joining Jesus (John 1:35 – 42).
  • I’ve noticed something. It seems that the gospel writers were not usually trying to quote the characters word for word. This might be explained by the hypothesis that they had these things memorized before writing them down and they were translated into ways that made them easily memorable.

Jesus Heals the Sick

  • Matthew begins to mention Jesus’ healing miracles but gives no details in this chapter. For that, I will need to see Luke and Mark.

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I’m Tracy

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