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Matthew 4

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4 NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The Temptation of Jesus Satan Tempts Jesus Jesus' Temptation The Temptation of Jesus Testing in the Wilderness
4:1-11 4:1-11 4:1-4 4:1-3 4:1-11
      4:4 (4b)
    4:5-7 4:5-6 (6b)
      4:7 (7b)
    4:8-11 4:8-9  
      4:10  
      4:11  
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry Beginnings of Jesus' Activity in Galilee Jesus Begins His Work

in Galilee

Return to Galilee
4:12-16 4:12-17 4:12-17 4:12-16 4:12-17
(15-16)
4:17     4:17  
The Calling of Four Fishermen Four Fishermen Called

as Disciples

  Jesus Calls Four

Fishermen

The First Four Disciples Are Called
4:18-22 4:18-22 4:18-22 4:18-20 4:18-20
      4:21-22 4:21-22
Ministering to a Great Multitude Jesus Heals a Great Multitude   Jesus Teaches, Preaches, and Heals Jesus Proclaims the Message and Heals the Sick
4:23-25 4:23-25 4:23-25 4:23-25 4:23-25

 

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

 

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS TO VERSES 1-25

A. It is extremely significant that immediately following God's affirmation of the Messianic Sonship of Jesus, the Spirit "drives" Jesus into the desert to be tempted (cf. Mark 1:12). Temptation was in the will of God for the Son. Temptation can be defined as the enticement of a God-given desire beyond God-given bounds. Temptation is not a sin. This temptation was initiated by God. The agent was Satan (cf. 2 Kgs. 22:13-23; Job 1-2; Zech. 3).

 

B. It is also significant that in this chapter an Israel/Christ typology is developed. Jesus is seen as the "Ideal Israelite" who fulfills the task which the nation was originally given (cf. Isa. 41:8-9; 42:1,19; 43:10). Both are called " Son" (cf. Hos. 11:1). This explains some of the ambiguity which is found in the Servant Songs of Isa.41-53 in the shift from the plural to the singular (Isa. 52:13-15 in the LXX). This Israel/Christ typology is similar to the Adam/Christ typology found in Rom. 5:12-21.

 

C. Could Christ really have sinned? This is really the mystery of the two natures of Christ. The temptation was real. Jesus, in His human nature, could have violated the will of God. This was not a puppet show. Jesus is truly human though without a fallen nature (cf. Heb. 4:15; 7:26). In this respect He was like Adam. We see this same human nature in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed three times for another way of redemption other than the cross (cf. Matt. 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42). This tendency is the essence of each one of Satan's temptations in Matthew 4. How will Jesus use His Messianic gifts to redeem mankind? Any way other than substitutionary atonement was the temptation!

 

D. Jesus must have told this experience to His disciples later because He was alone in the desert. This implies that this account not only teaches us about Christ's temptation, but also helps us in our temptations.

 

E. It must be remembered that the Bible is not a chronological, cause and effect, western history. Near Eastern history is selective, but not inaccurate. The Gospels are not biographies but gospel tracts written to different groups of people for the purpose of evangelism and discipleship, not just history. Often Gospel writers selected, adapted, and arranged the material for their own theological and literary purposes (cf. Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart's How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, pp. 94-112, 113-134). There are several good illustrations of Matthew's tendencies to structure his Gospel.

1. He puts Jesus' teachings together in one sermon (Matthew 5-7), as he does His miracles and parables.

2. He has a numerical propensity for (cf. NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 657)

a. threes

(1) three temptations, Matt. 4:1-11

(2) three acts of Jewish righteousness, Matt. 6:1-18

(3) three healings, Matt. 8:1-15

(4) three "fear nots," Matt. 10:26,28,31

(5) three days, Matt. 12:40

(6) three questions, Matt. 22:15-40

(7) three prayers of Jesus to the Father while in Gethsemane, Matt. 26:39-44

(8) three days to rebuild the temple, Matt. 27:40 (#5)

(9) Jesus will rise in three days, Matt. 27:63 (#5,8)

b. sevens

(1) demons, Matt. 12:45

(2) loaves, Matt. 15:34,36

(3) baskets, Matt. 15:37

(4) forgiveness to a brother, Matt. 18:21,22 (seven, seventy-times seven)

(5) seven brothers, Matt. 22:25

(6) seven woes, Matt. 23:13,15,16,23,25,27,29

Mark (the first written Gospel, used by Matthew and Luke) has "seven" for #2, #3, and #5, which shows the number was not a structure unique to Matthew. It is difficult to know what was part of the tradition and what part Matthew's propensity for these numbers caused his structure.

This does not mean to imply the Gospel writers falsified or made up events or words. The differences in the Gospels does not deny inspiration. It affirms eyewitness accounts.

F. The parallels of Jesus' temptations are found in Mark 1:12-13 and Luke 4:1-13.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 4:1-4
 1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." 4But he answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'"

4:1 "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil" This is an extremely significant verse in that it shows that God's will for Jesus' life was to face temptation (Heb. 5:8). This temptation experience related to how Jesus would use His Messianic powers to redeem mankind (the use of first class conditional sentences in Matt. 4:3, 6).

▣ "was led" In the Mark 1:12 parallel we find the phrase "was driven by the Spirit." This experience was necessary for Jesus (cf. Heb. 5:8).

▣ "the wilderness" This referred to the uninhabited pasture land near Jericho. This would have been the kind of territory in which Moses (cf. Exod. 34:28), Elijah (cf. 1 Kgs. 19:8) and John the Baptist lived (cf. Matt. 3:1).

▣ "tempted" Two terms in the Greek language describe a temptation or test. One has the connotation of "to test with a view toward strengthening" [dokimazo] and the other "to test with a view toward destruction" [peirasmo]. The term used here is the one for destruction (cf. Matt. 6:13; James 1:13-14). God will never tempt us to destruction, but He often tests us, with a view toward strengthening us (cf. Gen. 22:1; Exod. 16:4; 20:20; Deut. 8:2,16; 13:3; Jdgs. 2:22; 2 Chr. 32:31; 1 Thess. 2:4; 1 Pet. 1:7; 4:12-16). Satan tempts to destroy!

SPECIAL TOPIC: GREEK TERMS FOR TESTING AND THEIR CONNOTATIONS

▣ "the devil" In the Old Testament the title of the angelic being who gives mankind a choice is Satan (BDB 966), the accuser (cf. Mark 1:13). In the NT he becomes diabolos (following the LXX) or the devil, which meant slanderer, adversary, or tempter. In the OT he was a servant of God (cf. Job 1-2; 2 Kgs. 22:13-23; 1 Chr. 21:1; Zech. 3:1,2). However, by the time of the New Testament there was an intensification of evil and he has become the arch-enemy of God. One of the best books on the development of evil in the Bible is A. B. Davidson's Old Testament Theology, published by T. and T. Clark, p. 300-06. See Special Topic at Matt. 4:5.

4:2 "after He had fasted" See SPECIAL TOPIC: FASTING at Matt. 6:16.

▣ "forty days and forty nights" Here again Matthew chose a motif from the OT of (1) Moses'forty days and forty nights on Mt. Sinai (cf. Exod. 24:18; 34:28; Deut. 9:9; 10:10) and (2) Israel wandering in the wilderness for forty years (cf. Num. 14:26-35). Matthew saw Jesus as the New Law giver and deliverer (i.e., new exodus).

The term "forty" was used often in the Bible implying it could function both literally (40 years from Egypt to Canaan) and figuratively (the flood). The Hebrews used a lunar calendar. "Forty" implied a long, indefinite period of time longer that a lunar cycle, not exactly forty twenty-four periods.

SPECIAL TOPIC: SYMBOLIC NUMBERS IN SCRIPTURE

▣ "He then became hungry" Fasting involved the absence of food, not water. Some commentators see this as Satan waiting until the end of Jesus' fast when He was weak and tired before approaching Him. Others believe that Satan came during the entire fast. The first option fits the context best.

This also shows the full humanity of the Spirit-filled, Spirit-sent Jesus.

4:3 "and the tempter" This is a present participle used as a substantive of " to tempt" as in Matt. 4:1.

▣ "came and said to Him" These temptations could have been either mental or physical. Based on the fact that Satan will take Him to a high mountain to view all of the kingdoms of the earth in a single instant (Luke parallel), this was probably a vision, but still a personal confrontation between Jesus and Satan.

▣ "If You are the Son of God" Like verse 6, this is a first class conditional sentence which is assumed to be true, at least from the point of view of the author; therefore, it should be translated " since" (instead of "if") for English readers. Satan is not doubting Jesus' Messiahship (i.e., God affirmation in Matt. 3:17), but was tempting Him to misuse or abuse His Messianic powers. This grammatical form colors the interpretation of this entire temptation experience (cf. James Stewart's The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ).

▣ "command that these stones become bread" Apparently these rocks in the Judean desert were shaped like loaves of baked bread used in first century Palestine. Satan was tempting Jesus to use His Messianic powers both to meet His personal needs and to win the allegiance of humans by feeding them. In the OT the Messiah was described as feeding the poor (cf. Isa. 58:6-7,10). These temptation experiences, to some extent, continued to occur during Jesus' ministry. The feeding of the five thousand (Matt. 14:13-21) and of the four thousand (Matt. 15:29-33) showed how humans would, and did, abuse God's provision of physical food. This again is parallel to the problems of Israel's wilderness experience. Matthew saw a parallel between Moses and Jesus. The Jews were expecting the Messiah to perform many of the actions of Moses.

Satan's temptation functioned on two levels. The first was the Jewish expectation of the Messiah providing food like Moses (i.e., John 6). The second was the implication that if He was truly God's Son, the Messiah, let Him prove it by "speaking" His will. This obviously refers to creation by the spoken word (Genesis 1). Satan's test was

1. provide human food as Moses did

2. show your power by speaking a miraculous event (note the quote in Matt. 4:4b)

 

4:4 "It is written" This is a perfect passive indicative. This was the standard idiomatic way of introducing an inspired quotation from the OT (cf. Matt. 4:4,7,10), in this case, from Deut. 8:3 from the Septuagint (LXX). This particular quote relates to God providing manna to the children of Israel during the wilderness period:

All of Jesus' responses to Satan's temptations were quotes from Deuteronomy. This must have been one of His favorite books.

1. He quoted repeatedly from it during His temptation by Satan in the wilderness, Matt. 4:1-16; Luke 4:1-13.

2. It is possibly the outline behind the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5-7.

3. Jesus quoted Deut. 6:5 as the greatest commandment, Matt. 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-28.

4. Jesus quoted this section of the OT (Genesis - Deuteronomy) most often because the Jews of His day considered it the most authoritative section of the canon.

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 4:5-7
 5Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,
 'He will command His angels concerning You'; and
 'On their hands they will bear You up,
 So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.'"
 7Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

4:5 "the devil" The Greek word, Diabolos, is used in the NT 37 times, while Satanas is used 36 times; both refer to one who accuses, which was his OT task. Matthew and Luke use diabolos for the temptation experience, while Mark uses Satanos. Why the change is uncertain. See SPECIAL TOPIC: PERSONAL EVIL following.

SPECIAL TOPIC: PERSONAL EVIL

▣ "took Him into the holy city" This phrase "the holy city" is unique to Matthew and was a special designation for Jerusalem (cf. Matt. 27:53; Dan. 9:24; Neh. 11:1,18; Rev. 11:2). Matthew knew the Jews would understand this immediately as an allusion from the OT (cf. Isa. 48:2; 52:10; 64:10). The order of the temptation events in Matthew and Luke are different. The reason for this is uncertain. Possibly Matthew's account is chronological (" then"), while Luke's account restructures the order for climactic effect (" again").

NASB, NKJV,
NRSV"had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple"
TEV"set him on the highest point of the temple"
NJB"set him on the parapet of the Temple"

" Parapet" or "pinnacle" may be literally translated "wing." This term could have meant (1) the outermost part of the Temple's southeast corner of the outer wall, which overlooked the Kidron Valley or (2) the part of Herod's Temple which overlooked the inner court. Because of the Jewish tradition that the Messiah was to appear suddenly in the Temple (cf. Mal. 3:1), this tradition became one of Satan's temptations of how to win people's allegiance by performing a miracle of jumping off and floating into the Temple area, possibly during a feast day.

4:6 "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down" This is another first class conditional sentence which is assumed to be true from the author's perspective or for his purposes (cf. Matt. 4:3). Satan quotes Ps. 91:11-12. Some have asserted that Satan misquoted this verse. Although he left out "in all your ways," this quotation is in line with the Apostles'use of the OT Scripture. The problem was not that Satan was misquoting the verse, but was misapplying it.

4:7 "Jesus said to him" Verse 7 is a quote from Deut. 6:16, which referred to Israel's testing God at Massah during the Wilderness Wandering Period (cf. Exod. 17:1-7). Israel, at this point, did not trust God to provide her basic needs, but demanded a miracle. The pronoun "you" in the quote relates to Israel, not Satan (cf. Matt. 4:10).

▣ "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test" The issue is the motive for the "test" (cf. 1 Cor. 10:9 [Numbers 21]; Acts 5:9; 15:10). Believers are called on to actively trust God's promises (i.e., Jos. 1:56; Isa. 7:10-13; Mal. 3:!0).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 4:8-11
 8Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." 10Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'" 11Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

4:8-9 This temptation implies a vision instead of an actual event. Compare Luke 4:5 which said "in a moment of time." In either case, it was a real and personal temptation confronting Jesus.

There has been much discussion as to what Satan meant by his claim in Matt. 4:9: (1) does it imply that he owned all of the kingdoms of the earth? or (2) does it imply that he was simply trivializing the world's sin by showing Jesus its splendor? Satan is called the "god of this world" (cf. John. 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4) and ruler of this world (cf. Eph. 2:2; 1 John 5:19) and yet this world is owned by God who created and sustains it! The exact extent of Satan's influence, ownership (cf Luke 4:6), and free will (cf. Job 1-2; Zechariah 3) is uncertain, but his power and evil are pervasive (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8).

4:9 "if" This is a third class conditional sentence which implied probable future action. This verse shows Satan's true desire to replace YHWH!

4:10 "Then Jesus said to him" This loosely quotes Deut. 6:13. It does not appear in this form in either the Masoretic Text (MT) or the Septuagint (LXX). Jesus added the word "only." This verse and Deut. 6:5 affirm the needed commitment to God in heart, mind, and life.

The fact that Jesus loosely quotes a Scripture text ought to encourage us to memorize Scripture (i.e., Ps. 119:11; 37:31; 40:8), the purpose is to know its main point and live it out daily, not necessarily to quote it perfectly especially in times of temptation and trials (cf. Eph. 6:17).

▣ "Go, Satan" This is similar but not identical to Matt. 16:23. Some early Greek manuscripts, C2, D, L, and Z, add "get behind me Satan." Apparently early scribes added this phrase which is from Matt. 16:23. The UBS4 gives the shorter text a "B" rating (almost certain).

4:11 "Then the devil left Him" Luke 4:13 adds the phrase "until an opportune time." Temptation is not once-and-for-all, but ongoing. Jesus would experience temptation again. Peter's words at Caesarea Philippi were as tempting and cutting as Satan's words in the wilderness (cf. Matt. 16:21-23).

▣ "angels came and began to minister to Him" The Greek word "minister" is often associated with physical food (cf. Matt. 8:15; 25:44; 27:55; Acts 2:6). This recalls 1 Kgs. 19:6-7, where God miraculously provided food for Elijah. God's angels ministered to His unique Son. God provided all that Satan said he could provide.

Why the incarnate son of God would need the ministry of angels is a mystery. Angels are ministering spirits to the redeemed (cf. Heb. 2:14). Twice in Jesus' life angels helped Him in times of His physical weakness, here and in Gethsemane (cf. Luke 22:43 in MSS א*, D and L and the Vulgate).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 4:12-17
 12Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; 13and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
 15"The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
 By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-
 16The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
 And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
 Upon them a Light dawned."
 17From that time Jesus began to preach and say, " Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

4:12 The specific reasons for John's arrest are given in Matt. 14:3-5.

4:13 "and leaving Nazareth" Jesus changed His place of residence because of the city's unbelief (cf. Luke 4:16-31). See Special Topic: Jesus the Nazarene at Matt. 2:23.

▣ "and settled in Capernaum" This was the hometown of Peter and John. "Capernaum" meant "village of Nahum." Therefore, it may have been the traditional hometown of the OT prophet. It was located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

4:13c-16 Because of the concluding phrase of Matt. 4:13, this was fulfilled prophecy (cf. Isa. 9:1-2). Everyone expected the Messiah to minister primarily to Judea and Jerusalem, but the ancient prophecy of Isaiah was uniquely fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus (cf. John. 7:41). The land of Zebulun and Naphtali were the first to fall to the Assyrian invaders and the first to hear the good news.

4:15 "beyond the Jordan" This idiom usually referred to the east side of the Jordan (the trans-Jordan) but here it referred to the west (the promised land). It all depends on where the person speaking was standing (or thinking).

▣ "Galilee of the Gentiles" Galilee was a mixture of both Jews and Gentiles (ethnē, LXX Isa. 9:1), the majority being Gentiles. This Gentile area was looked down on by the Jews of Judea. God's heart has always been for the salvation of the entire world (i.e., Gen. 3:15; 12:3; Exod. 19:5-6; Isa. 2:24; 25:6-9; John. 3:16; Eph. 2:11-3:13).

4:16 "The people who were sitting in darkness" This was either (1) a reference to their sin, (2) a reference to their ignorance, or (3) an idiom of derision because of their differences from the Jewish customs in Judea.

▣ "in the land and shadow of death" This was a metaphor for great danger (cf. Job 38:17; Ps. 23:4; Jer. 2:6).

4:17 "From that time" This phrase is used three times in Matthew (cf. Matt. 4:17; 16:21; 26:16) and seems to be a purposeful literary marker of the main divisions of Matthew's presentation of Jesus.

"Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'" This is similar to John the Baptist's message (cf. Matt. 3:2). In the mouth of Jesus it takes on new significance. The kingdom is both present and future. This is the "already" but " not yet" tension of the new age (see Robert Stein, The Method and Message of Jesus' Teachings, pp. 75-79).

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE KINGDOM OF GOD

▣ "repent" Repentance is crucial for a faith relationship with God (cf. Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; 6:12; Luke 13:3,5; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 20:21). The term in Hebrew meant a change of actions (BDB 996), while in Greek it meant a change of mind. Repentance is a willingness to change from one's self-centered existence to a life informed and directed by God. It calls for a turning from the priority and bondage of the self (cf. Genesis 3). Basically it is a new attitude, a new worldview, a new master. Repentance is God's will for every human being, made in His image (cf. Ezek. 18:21,23,32 and 2 Pet. 3:9).

The NT passage that best reflects the different Greek terms for repentance is 2 Cor. 7:8-12.

1. lupē, "grief" or "sorrow" 2 Cor. 7:8 (twice), 2 Cor. 7:9 (thrice), 2 Cor. 7:10 (twice), 2 Cor. 7:11

2. metamelomai, "after care," 2 Cor. 7:8 (twice), 2 Cor. 7:9

3. metanoeō, "repent," " after mind," 2 Cor. 7:9, 10

The contrast is false repentance [metamelomai] (cf. Judas, Matt. 27:3 and Esau, Heb. 12:16-17) vs. true repentance [ metanoeō].

True repentance is theologically linked to

1. Jesus' preaching of the conditions of the New Covenant (cf. Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3,5)

2. the apostolic sermons in Acts [kerygma] (cf. Acts 3:16,19; 20:21)

3. God's sovereign gift (cf. Acts 5:31; 11:18 and 2 Tim. 2:25)

4. perishing (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9)

Repentance is not optional!

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 4:18-22
 18Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

4:18 "the Sea of Galilee" This fresh water lake is about 12 miles by 8 miles. It was known in the Bible by four different names.

1.the Sea of Chinnereth (cf. Num. 34:11)

2. Lake Gennesaret (cf. Luke 5:1)

3. the Sea of Tiberias (cf. John. 6:1; 21:1)

4. here, the Sea of Galilee

 

▣ "He saw two brothers," It is uncertain if this was the first time that these men had met and heard Jesus. Apparently their immediate response reflected an earlier meeting, possibly recorded in John. 1:45-51. It must be remembered that John records an earlier Galilean and Judean ministry. John's chronology of Jesus' life records events in: Galilee, Judea, Galilee, and Judea.

▣ "net" This refers to a hand-cast, round net, but the word "net" in Matt. 4:20 and 21 is a different word and refers to larger nets pulled by boats.

1. behind the boat or between boats

2. one end anchored at the shore, the other end taken straight out by a boat and then in a semi-circle, brought to shore.

 

4:19 "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" In its Jewish setting, Jesus was officially calling these men to become His disciples. There were set rules and procedures on how a rabbi did this. The terminology is a word play on their current profession of fishing and their new one as witnesses and evangelists.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 4:23
 23Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

4:23 "Jesus was going throughout all Galilee" This involved three specific ministries: (1) teaching; (2) preaching; and (3) healing. It is interesting to note that they responded to the third, but not always to the first and second. The third was simply a confirmation of the vitality and power of the first two. It was possible to be healed and not be saved (cf. John. 5).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: MATTHEW 4:24-25
 24The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. 25Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

4:24 "The news about Him spread throughout all Syria" Syria was a Roman province which included northern Palestine. However, in this context it may refer to the whole area, which showed the wide-spread popularity of this healer from Nazareth.

▣ "all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics" In the Gospels, distinctions are made between physical sickness and demon possession. Although demonic forces might cause physical symptoms, the cure for each is different. Jesus healed all those who were brought to Him (see Special Topic at Matt. 19:2). We know from other accounts that healing was sometimes based on the faith of the individual, or the faith of the sick individual's friends; and sometimes it came without much faith at all. Physical healing did not always mean or imply spiritual salvation (cf. John. 9).

▣ "demons" See Special Topic at Matt. 10:1.

▣ "epileptics" See note at Matt. 17:15.

4:25 "Large crowds followed Him" Verse 25 is a graphic description of the extent of Jesus' popularity (cf. Mark 3:7-8; Luke 6:17). This popularity caused the Jewish leaders to be jealous and the crowds to misunderstand His mission.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What was the purpose of Jesus' temptation?

2. Who is the devil and what is his purpose?

3. Were these temptations psychological, physical or visionary?

4. Why do the Gospels emphasize the Galilean ministry of Jesus?

5. When Jesus called the disciples, had they met or heard Him before that time?

6. Does the New Testament make a distinction between demon possession and physical illness? If so, why?

 

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