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Matthew 4:1-25

The end of chapter 3 states: .16But Jesus having been baptized ascended straight from the water, and look!, the heavens were opened and he saw the spirit of God descending as-though a dove coming on him, .17and look!, a sound out-from the heavens saying, "This is My son, the loved1 (son) in whom I consider-it-good." The Lord Jesus Christ's ministry had officially begun. Next we read:

Matthew 4:1-4:

4:1Then Jesus was led-up by the spirit into the desert-place to be tempted by the devil .2and having fasted forty days and forty nights afterwards he hungered .3and the (one) tempting having come-towards (him) said to him, "If you are son of God you must say (words) in order that these stones may be caused-to-become breads." .4But the (one) having answered said, "It was written2: 'The man will not live on only bread but on every spoken-matter journeying-out by means of (the) mouth of God'."

At that time Jesus was led-up by the spirit (the holy spirit that Jesus had just received directed, conducted or conveyed him up) from the Jordan valley into the desert or desolate place to be tempted by the devil. The verb "to be tempted" means: to be made trial-of or tried in the bad sense of being put to the test with evil and ill-intent being enticed to do wrong, try to cause to fall-aside from the truth of God's Word, being enticed to disbelieve what God says during that specific situation. The devil is the one who tempts with/by evil.

The word translated "devil" comes from the words: "through" and "throw" or "cast" – the devil throws or casts things through people, like stabbing a person from outside through the person and out the other side with an accusation or slander, etc. "Satan" is the name that emphasizes the devil's opposing and adversarial attributes being in total opposition to the only true God. There are many names used in the Bible to describe his characteristics, qualities, etc. The devil is the chief of the devil-spirits (demons), which are the other evil-spirits in subordination to the devil.

After Jesus had been fasting (not eating) for forty days and forty nights (40 x 24-hours) he was hungry. The number 40 is significant in that from God's point of view it is the period of probation and trial in order to prove something. Also, 'fasting' literally refers to abstaining from physical eating, but figuratively refers to doing the will of God; doing the will of God includes praying to Him, listening to Him, doing what He says (Isaiah 58:3-8).

And, the one tempting (again referring to the devil, but with another name that emphasizes the fact that he presently and actively tempts), having come-towards (approached) Jesus, said to him, "If you are son of God you must say (words) in order that these stones may be caused-to-become breads." The word "if" could also be translated "since" from the Greek sentence structure – the one tempting is not doubting that Jesus is truly the son of God. God had made this very clear when Jesus received holy spirit from God.

From an unaware viewpoint, it could seem that the tempter/devil was offering Jesus help by giving him advice on what to do in order to keep himself alive without having to rely on someone else nor on God to get what is needed to live. This was as the serpent/devil did to Adam (the first man) and Eve (the first woman) recorded in Genesis chapter 3 (you may read my study of Appendix to Romans, the fall of Adam for further information).

The one tempting said to Jesus: if/since you are God's son you must say definite words for the purpose and result that these stones would be caused to become (come to pass to be) loaves of bread for you to eat so you won't be hungry and you will live.

But the one answering said (Jesus judicially replied to the questioning statement made by the one tempting by saying): "It was written2: 'The man will not live on only bread but on every spoken-matter journeying-out by means of (the) mouth of God'." Jesus did not respond by saying, "Of course I'm the son of God!" – because this was not in question. Nor did Jesus argue or deliberate on what the one tempting said as to how to use what God had made available to him. But Jesus answered by referring to what was previously written as part of God's Word, and had not changed, in the Book of Deuteronomy that Moses spoke and wrote.

Deuteronomy 8:1-3:

All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers.
And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
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.

Jesus answered saying: it was written and is still written: 'The man (mankind) will not live (will not have life, not be alive) resting or based upon only bread (bread alone), but on the contrary, man will live resting or based upon every spoken-matter journeying-out by means of the mouth of God (all/every portion of the whole of God's Word, each containing a specific discourse making its journey, proceeding, being passed out to mankind by means of/through God's mouth – figuratively emphasizing that what is spoken must originate from God in order to give life to the man)'.

Jesus Christ is the second man, as opposed to the first man Adam who succumbed to the devil's temptation. Also, we should note that the record here in Matthew was not written while this was going on, nor is it the same as what Luke records about the time when Jesus was in the desert (Luke 4:1-13). Of course, the information God gave to Matthew was accurate and the information He gave to Luke was also accurate – therefore let us endeavor to learn from these records and not argue about what goes where or what comes next, etc.

Some say that there were three temptations, some say four, and some say that the temptations in Luke took place first, then a little space of time, and then the devil tempts Jesus again in a slightly different manner but the same basic principles that culminated in the temptation of direct worship of the devil/satan himself. This would make six temptations. Let us learn from Jesus' handling of these temptations, and the truth that even though he was tempted in different ways and in different places, he continued to believe and stand on God's Word.

[Reference: Genesis 3:1-24; Exodus 24:18, and 34:28; I Kings 19:8; the Book of Job; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1 and 2; Acts 1:3; I Corinthians 15:20-57; I Thessalonians 3:5; I John 2:16. Note: verbs with a superscript 2 (2) immediately following them indicate the "perfect" tense - details are provided in the "Relevant Notes" link of this study.]

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True Bible Study - Matthew

Jesus did God's will