Method: Read through the chapter and make expository comments in context. After that, summarize these doctrines and principles in an organized form.

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

The outline of Matthew 4 can be as follows

  • Satan tempts Jesus, Matthew 4:1-11.
    • Jesus in the wilderness, Matthew 4:1-2.
    • Food test, Matthew 4:3-4.
    • Protection test, Matthew 4:5-7.
    • Wealth and power test, Matthew 4:8-10.
    • Victory in trials, Matthew 4:11.
  • Jesus goes from Nazareth to Capernaum, Matthew 4:12-16.
    • John the Baptist was imprisoned, and so Jesus began his public ministry, Matthew 4:12-13
    • Jesus was to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-7, Isaiah 4:14-16.
  • Jesus’ public ministry begins 4:17-25.
    • Message, Matthew 4:17.
    • Jesus selects 4 disciples: Peter, Andrew, James, and John, Matthew 4:18-22.
    • A glimpse of Jesus’ public ministry, Matthew 4:23-25.

Study of Matthew 4

  • Satan tempts Jesus, Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus underwent this very severe test in order to demonstrate that he was the Messiah and that he was committed to his ministry. His success proved that he was ready for his public ministry.
    • Jesus in the wilderness, Matthew 4:1-2.
      • Satan is a real person. He tempted Jesus to forsake God the Father’s mission. Satan wanted Jesus to fail so that God’s program of redemption would fail.
        • Genesis 3:1-15: Real person talking with Eve, thinking, offering choices.
        • Job 1:6-12: Speaks to God, is given permission to impose suffering on another person.
        • Ezekiel 28:11-19: Created, privilege, sinless.
        • Matthew 4:1-11: A person. Thinks, relates, choices, desires worship.
        • Matthew 25:41: Punishment has been prepared for him.
        • 1 Corinthians 5:5: A person who is able to inflict suffering.
        • 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: A deceptive person and he has his own servants.
        • 1 Timothy 3:6: Under condemnation.
        • 1 Peter 5:7: Compared to a lion on the prowl for a victim.
        • 1 John 3:8: Contrasted with the righteous Son of God.
        • Jude 9: Michael the archangel argued with him and put him in the Lord’s hand.
      • Why did Jesus fast? During this time, Jesus was thinking about the mission before him. Was he ready for that mission? Was he committed to that mission?
        • Fasting meant no food, but probably did drink water (Luke 4:2).
        • Moses and Elijah also fasted for 40 days and nights (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9; 1 Kings 19:8).
        • Jesus was drawing on the spiritual resources from God his Father. This was that last phase of intensive preparation for his task.
        • The Father was demonstrating that Jesus was ready for his work.
      •  The word “tempted” is peirazo in the aorist act infinitive. The word means to examine to learn the character (2 Corinthians 13:5), to entrap, and to try to make one sin (Matthew 16:1; Hebrews 11.37).
      • Satan wanted Jesus to fail.
      • The Father was proving that he would not fail.
      • Food test, Matthew 4:3-4. He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3.
      • Protection test, Matthew 4:5-7.  Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16.
      • Wealth and power test, Matthew 4:8-10. Satan was in fact the temporary ruler of the world system (2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:31; Ephesians 2:2).Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13 and Deuteronomy 10:20.
      • Jesus’ victory in trials, Matthew 4:11. In each test Jesus answered with a statement of his beliefs. His beliefs were the statements of God’s word.
        • He was committed to doing the Father’s will (John 4:34).
        • In order to speak, Jesus needed to think clearly. Words and thoughts go together.
        • His thoughts and his words were drawn from the Scripture, which Jesus considered to be the truth.
        • He was committed to God’s word and so he drew on God’s word for his worldview and purpose.
      • Satan tested Eve in just about the same way (Genesis 3:1-6).
        •  Physical appetite.
        • Knowledge, gain, and glory.
      • Our tests and temptations also fall into these general categories, 1 John 2:16.
        • Lust of the flesh means to do things that are apart from God’s will. We think that doing these things will satisfy us.
        • Lust of the eyes means to want things that are apart from God’s will. We think that having these things will satisfy us.
        • Pride of life means to be something apart from God’s will such as powerful, well known, praised, and successful. We think that being these ways will satisfy us.
      • We can deal with our tests and temptations the same way as Jesus did, and we also must do the will of the Father just like Jesus did.
        •  To who are we committed? God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
        • What is our truth? Scripture.
        • What is our worldview? Biblical worldview.
        •  From whom do we draw strength? God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
      • Testing and temptation can be related.
        • 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 reminds the Corinthians that the Old Testament history of the Jews failures is for present day warning and instruction so that we do not fail in faith when events test and tempt us.
        • We learn from the OT history.
        • God will not allow testing or tempting beyond our spiritual ability.
        • God provides the way of victory over tests and temptation.
    • James 1 teaches us about testing, temptation, sin, God, and blessing.
      • James 1:2-12 teaches us that testing can bless us. We develop character (3-4); we learn to pray (5-8); we learn genuine humility (9-11). Those who continue to love God during testing will receive blessing (12).
      • James 1:13-15 teaches us that if we don’t love God (and not loving God is evidenced by blaming God for the testing), then the test will mutate into temptation toward sin. And, this temptation if not from God because God does not tempt us toward sin.  Temptation toward sin comes from our own sinful natures. Desire + object à sin à death (temporal and physical).
      • James 1:16-18 teaches us that God gives only good and does so that we would be first fruits, or a special breed among his creation by the new birth.
      • James 4:7-9. Submit to God; resist the devil; draw near to God through confession to God and reaffirming your love to God (James 4:7-9).
      • Psalm 119 teaches us that loyal love for God directed by God’s word will keep us from sin (See Psalm 119:9-16).
      • Romans 6-8 teaches us that because we are in Christ we are no longer sin’s slaves, but instead we live in a newness of life (6), and we cannot thrive in this newness as believers unless we live by the Holy Spirit’s power (7), and we have the privilege to live by His power through the law of the Spirit of life and not through the law of sin and death (8).
      • Matthew 26:31-41. The disciples were about to face a severe test. Not only were they to be alert for Jesus, but they were to be alert and pray for supernatural strength to face the temptation coming when Jesus was arrested.
      •  What should we do in testing and temptation? Jesus gave us an example of how to pass a test and to prevent testing from becoming temptation.  Love God the Father. Remain alert and pray for the Father to help. Recall and depend on Scripture. Accept God the Father’s will and depend upon him. (Matthew 4)
        • Love God (James 1:12). This is same as fixing our eyes upon Jesus, which has been theologically titled occupation with Christ (Hebrews 12:2).
        • Keep alert and pray for supernatural strength so that we not say yes to temptation (Matthew 26:41).
        • Know and believe and apply what Romans 6-8 says: We are dead to sin and alive to Christ (6); we must live by God’s power, not by human power (7); we therefore live by the law of the Spirit of life (8). See also 1 John 4:4.
        • Submit, resist, and draw near (James 4:7-9).
  • Jesus goes from Nazareth to Capernaum, Matthew 4:12-16. Jesus now entered into his public ministry; John had completed his ministry as the herald of Jesus. Jesus did so when he heard that John the Baptist was taken prisoner by Herod Antipas (son of Herod the Great; ruled 4 BC to AD 39) because John had spoken against Herod’s marriage to his brother’s (Philip) wife (Mark 6:14-29).
    • John the Baptist was imprisoned, and so Jesus began his public ministry, 4.12-13.
      • John was imprisoned and later beheaded by Herod Antipas (Mark 1.14; Luke 3.19-20; Matthew 14.1-12 recounts the events).
    • Jesus was to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy of Isaiah 9.1-7, 4.14-16.
      • Matthew used the Isaiah prophecy to his literary advantage—to make his point. Jesus was the one Isaiah spoke of. Jesus did come to the area of Zebulun and Naphtali and by the Sea of Galilee.
      • In Isaiah’s time Assyria was dominant. In Jesus’ time Rome was dominant. Domination by a foreign power when the deliverer comes is the present point of Matthew.
      • But, the Isaiah prophecy points to the time the Messiah would come to rule, that is the Second Advent.
  • Jesus’ public ministry begins, Matthew 4:17-25. The king does not take charge until the herald has finished. John’s ministry was now finished.
    • Matthew 4.17 is the entrance of Jesus into His public ministry.
      • Matthew 1:1 – 4:16 have led up to this point. Matthew 4:18 – Matthew 28 continue from Matthew 4:17.
      • Chapter 1 presents the genealogy of the King as heir of David and as Son of God.
      • Matthew 2 then narrates the birth and reception of the King.
      • Matthew 3 presents John, the forerunner of the King, his message, and his baptism of Jesus.
      • Matthew 4 then confirms the stature of the Messianic King through Satan’s testing. The King then moves to Capernaum and from that point enters into His own ministry. This begins with two items.
        • First, His kingdom message.
        • Second He forms His team of disciples. From this point on we have the public ministry of the King.
    • Jesus’ message was the same message that the Old Testament prophets and John had preached. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
  • He did not explain the term. He meant the same as John and the same as the prophets. The people listening knew what he meant. Jesus meant the promised kingdom in which the Messiah will rule and Israel will prosper.
    • Jesus selects 4 disciples: Peter, Andrew, James, and John, Matthew 4:18-22.
      • Peter and Andrew were brothers. Peter was an apostle to the Jews. Andrew began as a disciple of John. He was with the group in the upper room after the ascension as noted in Acts 1. James was one of the three close to the Lord. He was the first apostle martyred, by Herod in AD 44 (Acts 12). John was one of the three. He wrote the gospel, the three epistles, and Revelation. He was the only apostle who was at the crucifixion.
    • Fishers of men (Matthew 4:19-20). Picture (Metaphor). Comparison by representation. Takes idea of fishermen who make their living by catching fish. Jesus changes his message. Men now spend their lives catching men. They are to catch men for Jesus Christ – gospel and teaching. The men Jesus speaks to are fishermen. Therefore they understand the metaphor. There are certain things common to fishermen that we can think about for application to “fishers of men.”
      • Preparation.
      • Tools.
      • Decide the objective.
      • Go where “fish” (men) are that you want to catch.
      • Flexible in methodology.
      • Utilize time.
      • Proper care of the “fish” after catching them.
      • Ensure that they are used.
  • A glimpse of Jesus’ public ministry, Matthew 4:23-25.
    • Jesus traveled throughout Galilee. This is the area west of the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean, and from Mt Hermon in the north to Carmel and Gilboa in the south. The land stretched about 25 miles east to west and about 50 miles north to south.
    • Teaching, proclaiming, and healing were his activities.
      • The place is in the synagogues and local areas. The synagogue was the local gathering place for Jewish people.
      • The message was the kingdom of heaven.
      • The authority was through the miracles that he performed.
        • What is a miracle? A miracle is something that is outside the laws of nature or outside of the natural processes.
        • Henry Morris said “A true miracle must be defined in terms of its relation to the basic laws and natural processes of the present cosmos, which are now being sustained by God Himself in Christ (Heb 1.3; Col 1.17; 2 Pet 3.7). Thus, it must be basically an event outside the scope of either the fundamental laws of nature or of the normal operation of natural processes.” (Henry M. Morris, Biblical Naturalism and Modern Science, Part III, Issue 449 of Bibliothecasacra).
        • C.S. Lewis wrote “I use the word Miracle to mean an interference with Nature by supernatural power” (Miracles, C.S. Lewis, Page 5).
        • Miracles are supernatural manifestations of divine power in the external world, in themselves special revelations of the presence and power of God. A miracle is an interference with nature by supernatural power. Belief in miracles cannot be a product of ignorance or superstition. Belief in miracles, far from depending on an ignorance of the laws of nature, is only possible in so far as those laws are known. How could miracles be surprising unless they were seen to be exceptions to the laws of nature?  (Exodus 4:2-5; 1 Kings 18:24; John 5:36; 20:30, 31; Acts 2:22). CSTN Glossary.
    • Jesus drew crowds from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea. People heard him and saw him. His message got out to people.
  • Some applications for us from Matthew 4.
    • Testing shows my character and values. This is good for me. But, when I fail the test, I change that test into a temptation, which is bad for me.
    • How do I handle temptation?
    • What practical lessons can I draw from the fishers of men message?
    • What is striking about the disciples when Jesus called them? Can I draw any parallels to my own life?